Meze Audio 99 Classics - Reviews
Pros: Detailed sound quality,great built quality, design
Cons: synthetic leather,small ear pads that gets warm after long use
The Meze 99 Classics : simply , an wonderful headphone.
Introduction :
Usually in life you get high end headphones that deserve lots of praise and they cost lots of money, but is not always true that more expensive mean particularly better. In this case here we have a rather affordable, good looking closed on ear headphone . At the time of writing this review the price of Meze 99 Classics is £259 in UK , so you do not have to break the bank to buy something that sounds and looks as good.
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You still haven’t heard of the Meze 99 Classics headphones yet? Then take your time and  read further about those wonderful headphones. Meze is a small company located in Romania where they design in house all their products, and Meze 99 Classics is one of them.

Specifications :
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
Ear-cups: walnut wood
 
Once you open the rather luxurious box, you are delighted by the build quality of these headphones and how pretty they look.They seem to be built to last and all the used materials are premium with real walnut wood for the ear cups.
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In the box :
They come in a nice premium box and also a hard case for storage is included .
 
1 x cable  1.2 m Kevlar OFC with mic and remote to use with your smartphone.
1 x cable  3.0 m OFC for home use.
1 x 6.3 gold plated jack
1 x airplane adaptor jack
1 x hard Case for storage with another small fabric case to store the cables when not in use. I am personally pleased with the accessories included in the package on top of the quality of the headphones itself. No doubt about it , this will make a wonderful gift for your friends.
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Build :
As soon as you take a closer look at the headphones you will realise that the construction is simply amazing with a great choice of nice materials being used here. “CNC carved wood ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam and soft PU leather”. My only criticism will be not including real leather for the headband and ear cups, but that’s like asking too much at this price point.
 
On the head:
The Meze 99 Classics being and over ear headphones, are not as comfortable as full size headphones, but are very close and the reduced weight really helps , 260 gr without cables. Overall they are comfortable to wear for long period of times and you don’t really notice that are on your head. I really like the feeling with that self adjusting spring headband. You put them on your head and that’s all, no need to adjust and readjust. With a clean, straight and simple design for sure are a winner.
 
 
About the sound :
The most important thing for anyone is the sound quality, apart from comfort and looks. And they do sound, great and detailed.
Bass : While it doesn’t go as deep as other headphones in this price category the Meze 99 Classics have a wonderful, lighter bass, that’s not aggressive and in your face, but is there and is blending nicely with the mids and highs. Wonderful for instrument orchestra and vocal music.
Mids : The mids are the best this headphone can deliver and they are wonderful presented ,dynamic and detailed with clarity and accuracy speed. You need to hear them for yourself to fully understand what i am trying to describe here.
Highs : The highs are presented but can’t reach very high, and that is not particularly a bad thing, making for a non-fatique, easy laid back sound. Isolation is quite good for this headphone, making it pleasant to use in noisy environments, or where a closed back headphone is required.
Soundstage : Meze 99 Classics soundstage is well defined and quite open with nice instrument separation and you literally  feel the music surrounding you, which i really enjoyed. Using straight out of my Asus laptop was a great experience watching movies where i could hear lots of micro detailes.
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Players used :
Straight out of the box i have been really enjoying the Meze 99 Classics headphones with my Tera Player, Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge +, and LG Flex. If the sound signature will improve with the burn in, is even better, but very little criticise about.
Tera Player : the pairing was really good, but lacking somehow bass, but a great detailed spacious sound, with plenty of headroom.
LG Flex and Galaxy 6 Edge + with FLAC files sounded better with fuller sound because of the low impedance of those phones, where the Tera Player output is 10 Ohm and 20 Ohm.
Final words :  Wow, this is simply all i can say about this pair of headphones and congratulation to the Romanian team for the overall complete package they have achieved : sound, built, materials use, packaging. If you are in the market looking to purchase a great sounding headphone then look no further, Meze 99 Classics are that second pair you want, even if you have more expensive headphones in your collection. This is a one all purpose headphone suitable for serious listening, gym use, walk in the park, watching movies, you name it. And being a low impedance headphone is not hard to be driven straight from your phone with great results.
I fully recommend to try to hear them for yourself if you can, but at this price point is hard to recommend something else as good.
Pros: Excellent sound, quality of materials and workmanship, price.
Cons: Not everyone may like more aggressive style of delivery in the midbass section.
Commercial brands are pretty much like IT girls: should one of them flash her bare belly in the street, the next day the whole town would follow to vast enjoyment of the «other half of mankind», and then the whole country goes wild. Likewise, brands would hate to lose the race. It happens way too often that vendors are following trends, copying competitors' most eye-catching marketing moves, often compromising on the most important – it's the sound in this case.
Sometimes it's just the opposite: the manufacturer invests heavily in development, natural sound qualities, with almost nothing left for the product's appeal and marketing. Prices will eventually soar, confusing customers’ minds and feelings. We, music fans, used to rush to quench our thirst for new flashy toys, which didn't quite sound like real music should – just making some odd sounds. But in the course of time, the «music brotherhood» learned how to discover a true "Turgenev Girl" with a deep and extraordinary inner world, where there is no place for a single false note!
 
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Today we have a guest model that is beautiful in every way. And it's not the question whether you like it or not, it's when the product is equally pleasant to observe and a pleasure to hold. I reverently hoisted it over my head. And it's so nice to listen to! In other words, today we will focus on overhead headphones Meze 99 Classics.
Having put on a test track, I'd like to point out that Meze Company is a young and dynamic manufacturer that specializes in headphones.  Its "port of registry" is Romania. The company's motto: "Quality, style and sound! Only natural materials, bolts, nuts, and no glue and schlock! "
 
Specifications
Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
Headphones Type: Dynamic / Closed
Sensitivity: 103dB / 1KHz, 1mW
Impedance: 32Ohm
Cable: removable / two
Connector: Jack 3.5 + 6.3 mm adapter
Weight: 260 g (without cable)
 
 
 
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Appearance and ergonomics
 
Couple more seconds and I’d have started listening to the packaging box. The set is above all praise. Headphones picture on the box looks like a model on a glossy cover - Meze 99 Classics what else can you say? And the slogan is almost like saying, “I love you” (to music, of course!) - «Perfect natural sound - perfect natural fit».
Inside the box it gets even more interesting: there’s a branded tablet case, black, and it feels like leather, convex shape, yes, it’s sending shivers down your spine. I grab the case, and a couple of seconds later music starts flowing like Pushkin’s poems. So very fine!
 
 
 
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Yes, and the black tablet dropped another dark "matryoshka" - a smaller one, also round, stuffed with an adapter / plug for music at 10,000 km above the earth, a 3.5 / 6.3 mm adapter and two detachable cables: for pairing with mobile devices and stationary equipment. All you need to spend a great night with a beautiful model. Seriously, great cans! Flawless. Metal, wood, leather and impressive screws and bolts. Quite aesthetic!
 
Headphones are available in four colors. WALNUT GOLD, WALNUT SILVER and MAPLE SILVER. I chose the “maple silver” ones I do not know why, but at that time I was drawn to the "Light Side of the Force" (remember my review of the white German MAESTRO GMP 435 S?). And I do not regret it. Removable wires "blink" predictably: for the darker models - black, for lighter ones - white.
 
 
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As you may be aware, everyone has their own head, and Meze 99 Classics resided on mine so softly and comfortably that I wish somebody else’s head experienced the same. In the worst case scenario, one can use the mild adjustment, which slides also very elegantly.
Perhaps my own ears may get too hot under such tight cans. I conducted a ruthless experiment on myself wearing the headphones for a few hours in row in the summer heat. And I heard nothing except comfort and favorite tunes. However, the a/c started right behind my back "to the music of Vivaldi's", but we won’t tell anyone... Let the a/c also have a listen and it was a nuclear meltdown outside the windows, but the music did not sound worse.
 
 
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Sound
Main sound test was conducted with MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo PAW Gold, QLS qa-360, Colorfly C200 and iBasso DX80, and the smartphone Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
With all sound sources, the headphones delivered at the appropriate level, including even the smartphone. Although there are some slight nuances, but in general everything is very good. My acquaintance with the Meze 99 Classics was in three steps.
First. I took them out of the box, listened to some music briefly, I realized that I like them, and since I was supposed to come up with some other review, I put aside the pretty model for a while.
 
 
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Next time, I decided to test them a little longer (the night is long), going through a variety of musical genres. In the night, some issues were raised with regards to some tracks – namely, the aggressiveness of the midbass (sounding almost like a football hooligan). Eventually, I had to leave the headphones to burn up for about 50-70 hours.
 
Finally, I sat down with the headphones in absolute ecstasy.
I would describe the sound of Meze 99 Classics as neutral, slightly warm, with a very clear and elastic bass or even a slight rise in the midbass section.
The headphones have good high-speed characteristics. Among the cans built on the base of the dynamic transducer, they are one of the fastest (we do not take into account planar models and BA in-ear monitors).
 
Meze 99 Classic delivery is very natural and musical. You are welcome to follow my footsteps: I have tried such tracks as Megadeth - DystopiaMegadeth - Symphony of DestructionPantera - 5 Minutes Alone and Slipknot - Psychosocial. Although I am not a big fan of this kind of music, upon hearing it, I realised the true depths of my own soul. Rolling drums - fast, clear, you can almost feel the tension of the membrane on the drum,  its vibrating impact, and the bass drum is not just “breathing” , it’s breathing straight in your face. Captivating from the first roll ...
Guitar riffs are strikingly natural and masterful. The bass is coming out clearly - simply great! Vocals are treated beautifully, it is clear, smooth and expressive. And the cymbals! I'm talking about the plates, and hi-hat. Rarely can you hear such a clear and precise spark in working out HF. After all I’ve heard I rushed to order Megadeth - «Countdown to Extinction» on Amazon. See what I mean? This is how you become a metal head.
 
 
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It's amazing how these headphones play out the “heavy” genres. And my favorite New Wave tracks also sounded fabulous. I completed the whole album of The Pretenders - «Get Close» in a blink, so I once again felt the charm of the 80’s music with the magnificent voice of Chrissie Hynde. I also had a listen to my favorites Buzzcocks - «Singles Going Steady».
Great Meze 99 Classics sounded superb with Leftfield - «Leftism». It is breathtaking! The song called Original featuring vocalist from the Curve Toni Halliday literally blows your mind. And then there’s another great one Open Up feat. John Lydon ....
 
 
But every sweet has its sour. Some badly mixed and slower tracks sounded unclear. Whether midbass sounded out of place, or was it something else ... Maybe I was out of shape: kept on searching for the “wrong” track, clicked and clicked but it could never be found ... Eventually, I played the rare recording of Architectural Abdabs - « Lucy Lea (In Blue Tight) », do you know them? If you don’t, I’ll tell you - this is very young Syd Barrett, and the very first name of the legendary Pink Floyd. It’s hard not to complain - the sound is terrible, but the song is good.
There were some questionable moments - with shoegaze, and indie rock, but the flaws are not actual problems of the genre, but of the track itself and the way it’s mixed. There are tracks where the bass seems too aggressive like a fighting bull terrier.
 
 
 
The bottom line:
 
Bass - Crisp, fast, tight and a little aggressive in the midbass. The headphones play everything very clearly and polyphonic even in the subbass area. The rise and decay of sound are very clear.
 
Mids – mid frequencies are very thorough, natural, with a good deal of details, the total flow is smooth. Cool!
 
Treble - clear, without unnecessary aggression, accurate and smooth.
 
The overall delivery is slightly warm, more on the bass side, but it will still depend on your sound source. They have  certain charm and the most powerful punch, smooth and clear mid and delicate treble. Some people like it, some people do not really, but if the sound of Meze 99 Classics once gets you, then it is for long.
 
 
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Conclusions
The headphones are special, but quite very interesting, I would advise to buy them without a doubt, especially to those of you who listen to “heavy” genres, although not exclusively metal fans. Of course, before you buy them it is always good to have a listen. But these headphones are pleasing to the eye, very beautiful, elegant, comfortable, and most importantly, have a good sound. The price on the official website of the manufacturer is 309.00 USD. I think the price tag is just as good as those cans actually sound.
 
 
 
Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa
We thank Meze for providing the sample for listening
 
 
 
 
Bansaku
Bansaku
Fantastic review! It translated quite well into English (I did actually read the original Russian translated with Google and got quite a laugh at the translation).
HansBarbarossa
HansBarbarossa
Thx Bansaku :) I am very glad that you had liked my review!
Halam
Halam
Thank you for your review, it's pretty poetic)) I also like metal, and yes, Meze 99 Classic is very good for this music.
Pros: Premium build, Very cool design, Nice accessories package, Entertaining sound signature
Cons: Microphonics from headband, Pads won't fit larger ears comfortably, Bass is a bit loose, Not for those looking for a linear tuning
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At the time of the review, the Meze 99 Classics headphones were for sale on their website. Here is a link for information and purchase:
 
https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-walnut-silver-wood-headphones
 
Introduction
The force is strong in these…
 
If you’ve been visiting Head-Fi over the last year, you’ve probably seen several Meze 99 Classics reviews on the front page of the website. They have gotten some rave reviews from fellow Head-Fiers.
 
I had an opportunity to sample the 99 Classics at Axpona in April of 2016. They sounded decent, but to be honest I didn’t have enough time with them to get a fair impression. A few months later I was browsing the InnerFidelity Wall of Fame, and saw that they made Tyll’s list. At that point I knew I needed to see if I could get my hands and ears on a review sample and put them through their paces. I contacted Meze to see if I could borrow a pair.
 
I did a little homework on Meze. The headphones were designed in Romania and assembled in China. Meze is committed to combining craftsmanship, art and music together into one great headphone. Here is a statement shared from a company representative:
 
“Since wood is the trademark of our company, we make sure that each and every pair of headphones and earphones are carefully crafted from selected lumber.

We chose to use only air dried walnut lumber for the spectacular colors that it can display. As a result, we have to wait up to eighteen months for the lumber to dry so that we can shape the wood into the emblematic Meze Headphones look. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient because we know that the end result is worth the wait.

The process of shaping just a single pair of earcups takes up to 8 hours. The whole process of sanding, lacquering, and finishing lasts 45 days. We could cut corners but we take great pride in delivering the best product to our customers.

The craftsmanship of our headphones and earphones is paramount. The wooden components of our products are carefully inspected and no flaws are permitted to reach the final assembly. Aesthetics are as important for us as they are for you. We want you to wear a pair of Meze Headphones and know that you are enjoying a timeless art piece.

We are using walnut wood for its sturdiness and for its acoustic qualities. Although harder to find and to work with, we chose walnut for the brighter, more balanced sound that it offers to our headphones. Simply put, it is a blend of technology, art, and nature.

It is well to mention that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycles. This way, we are helping the environment and we're giving the old trees a chance to shine one more time in the shape of Meze Headphones.”
 
With that being said, let's take a closer look (and listen) to the Meze 99 Classics.

 
Disclaimer
I was given an opportunity to review the 99 Classics in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with Meze aside from offering an unbiased review in exchange for an opportunity to sample their product. I would like to take this time to personally thank Razvan and Lorand for this opportunity.
 
My Background
I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
 
There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me. I want to hear any earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I can share my impressions with  enthusiasts and help them find the audio product they’re looking for. My Head-Fi profile has a list of audio products ranked from favorite to least favorite. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and having a variety of different gear to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
 
I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are solidly built, with ergonomics and sound that is pleasing to my ears. It’s my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based on gear I have owned and used.
 
REVIEW
NOTE: The 99 Classics comes in three color variations. I received the walnut and silver pair. Please refer the link at the top of the page to see the other colors that are available.
 
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The 99 Classics come in a simple black box with vanilla lettering and accents. The front of the box features the product name and a gloss outlined drawing of the headphones.
 
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The back of the box displays a nice picture of the headphones, along with some key features of the product.
 
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The left side of the box has another gloss outlined drawing of a side view of the 99 Classics. The right side of the box displays a frequency response graph, along with specifications and accessories.
 
Specifications and Accessories
 
Specifications
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
 
Accessories
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1X Headphone carrying case
1x Cable carrying case
1X 4ft Kevlar coated cable with single button microphone and remote
1X 10ft Kevlar coated cable
1X ¼ inch adapter
1X airline adapter

 
Overall Build
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First things first, Meze guarantees and backs its product. There is a tremendous amount of pride in engineering behind the 99 Classic. A big selling point for me is that they don’t use adhesive or non-replaceable parts. Every component of these headphones are replaceable. If you blow a driver or crack a cup ect., Meze will have a replacement part for you. It’s as simple as removing some screws, removing the component and replacing it. The build of the 99 Classics is pretty nice. Holding them in my hand they feel both lightweight and solid at the same time. One thing I really appreciate is that I see virtually no plastic used in their build (the only exceptions being the driver plates and one part of the headband).
 
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The headband is a very solid design, similar to many AKG designs but with upgraded materials used. Two spring steel bands operate as a frame for the headphones, and are supported by a synthetic leather coated piece of plastic and elastic that allows the headband to stretch and rest comfortable on the user’s head. The design looks well done and able to withstand the test of time and daily abuse. If not, remember that replacement parts are available thanks to the Meze product guarantee.
 
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The 99 Classics’ wooden cups attach to the spring steel headband frame via an oscillating rubber plastic ball and socket design. The walnut cups are on the smaller side and a very nice satin finish. They seem very solid and have a nice aesthetic.  A mono 3.5 mm plug is located on the bottom of each cup, making it possible to run them in balanced mode with the proper aftermarket cable.
 
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The pads of the 99 Classics are made of a synthetic protein material with foam padding. They aren’t the thickest pads I’ve seen, nor do they have a large circumference. I had no problem with them in regards to this, but I can see this being a dealbreaker for someone with ears that stick out farther than average. Even still, if this is an issue pad rolling is possible thanks to the fact that the 99 Classics pads are removeable/replaceable.
 
 
 
Cable, Cable Jacks, Strain Reliefs
Two kevlar coated cables come with the 99 Classics. One is a four foot cable with a single button microphone and remote for portable use. The other is a ten foot cable without any functionality beyond music playback, and is designed for home use. Both cable have Mono 3.5 mm jacks at each channel.  The cables are tangle resistant and have very little spring or memory. I enjoyed using both of them for their intended purpose.
 
Comfort, Microphonics, Isolation
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I have a fairly average size head and ears for a grown man. With that being said, the comfort of the 99 Classics is very decent, but not their best attribute.
 
The Spring steel headband frame creates some issues for me. AKG has a similarly designed  headband frame but they use a cheaper material for their headband frame (and I understand why). Although the spring steel frame of the 99 Classics is far more durable and looks a heck of a lot better, it also creates more squeeze on my head, and the formed metal frame creates a considerable amount of microphonics if it comes in contact with anything. If you bump or rub the frame against a chair or wall you’re going to hear it and it’s going to be quite loud. Also, the stretchable elastic inside the synthetic portion of the headband creates some microphonics when adjusting them or turning my head. This isn’t significant, but does impact my listening experience when using them on the move. I also get some microphonics from the headphone cable at and above the Y-split. Any time this part of the cable rubs against my clothes, microphonics can be heard. Putting them through their paces, I came to the conclusion that these headphones aren’t ideal for using them on the go.
 
Their lightweight design is a big positive. The cups oscillate enough for me to get an even pressure distribution from the pads. Aside from a slightly more than average squeeze, the 99 Classics are comfortable enough to be worn for long listening sessions, with only a minimal amount of readjusting. Due to the fact that these are closed headphones, they will get warm on the ears. Even still, they aren’t bad in this sense. I’ve listened to other headphones that struggle much more than these in terms of heat dissipation.
 
For a closed headphone, the 99 Classic isn’t a tremendous isolator. They block out some ambient noise, but won’t be recognized as a great headphone for blocking out sound. When music wasn’t playing, I was easily able to hear what’s going on and carry on normal conversations with people around me. When listening to music (even at moderate volumes) ambient noise wasn’t an issue for the most part. For some this will be a big positive.
 
Sound Review
I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-V10 for smartphone use, and either my Shanling H3 or iBasso DX80 DAP for high fidelity portable use. For desktop use, I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a ifi micro iDSD playing at 32/192 kHz. I tested them with several other sources as well. I used Google Music in its highest download quality (320 KBPS), and also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I also used purchased and downloaded tracks in MP3, FLAC, WAV and DSD. I make sure that any gear I test has sufficient playtime before writing a review.
 
I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
“Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
“Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
“Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
“Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
“Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
“The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
“Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
“Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
“One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
“Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
“Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
“And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
“Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
 
Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to assess and break down the gear’s response.
 
Source Selection
One of the things I liked most about the 99 Classics is how well they worked with just about any source I used them with. The 99 Classics sounded good through my smartphone, laptop, DAPs, portable amplifiers and desktop rigs. As with most earphones, 32 Ohms is a sweet spot in terms of universal source applicability. It was a very pleasant experience being able to use them on the go with my smartphone and DAPs, and also with my desktop rigs, all with no worries about creating a mismatch.
 
The tuning of these headphones makes them forgiving with low bitrate files and poor recordings. They also scale up well with higher bitrate files and sources. Using a warmer source will further emphasize the bass lift the 99 Classics have. I enjoyed these the most when listening to them through a neutral sounding DAP. Your mileage may vary.
 
Sound Signature
I consider the tuning of the 99 Classics to be a somewhat safe tuning. They will sound really good to many people’s ears at the expense of not creating a big “wow factor.”  They have a balanced sound with slight bass emphasis. There are no radical spikes or dips, and give listeners a musical experience with hints of smoothness and detail. A great big positive about this tuning is they will work excellent with any genre of music your throw at them.
 
These might be dangerous for me. To my ears it seems like the louder I turn them up the better they sound. I’m warning you, these things sound great with the volume turned past the halfway mark. Be careful, either resist the temptation to crank these things up too loud, or at least not for too long!
 
Bass
Bass on the 99 Classics is forward and has enough body to give them a full and robust sound. To my ears, the lower the bass extends the looser it gets. The 99 Classics sub bass is very present and it seems to extend well, but it loses its tone at sub bass levels and becomes slightly monotone and sloppy at the lowest audible frequencies. This doesn’t ruin the 99 Classics sound whatsoever, but prevents me from saying their bass response is elite. I can appreciate the fact that they have enough soundstage depth to say it's better than a lot of headphones out there.
 
Midbass is well done. It’s responsive and doesn’t intrude on the midrange at all. It colors the sound enough to give it some good dynamics, but not enough to throw things out of whack. I really liked the way the 99 Classic presents midbass and lower midrange sounds. It borders on thick without going overboard, and has a nice sense of texture and clarity.
 
Midrange
In my opinion the 99 Classics midrange is the best thing about their sound. It’s very balanced and fun, with a touch of warm tilt and a spacious feel. All vocals sounded very natural, including male vocals.
 
Guitar chugs and pianos, as well as just about any midrange instruments will sound great. There really isn’t anything I can fault about the 99 Classics’ midrange. The only way I can imagine someone having an issue with them would be more a matter of someone who prefers a very dry and cold sounding headphone. Upper midrange is very smooth to my ears, and maybe the farthest back in the mix aside from the upper treble frequencies.
 
Treble
If there was one word to sum up the treble response, the word I would use is polite. You will get all the treble sounds but without any type of harshness. Do I think it could use a little more sparkle and extension? For my ears the answer is yes, it could use just a touch more. Even still, don’t let that lead you to believe that the Classics’ treble is rolled off or missing because it isn’t. Meze has taken a very safe approach to its treble presentation with this headphone. You get all the treble without any harshness. Many are going to like it for this reason.
 
Soundstage and Imaging
Although not the tightest and responsive bass you will ever hear, the Meze offers a decent sense of soundstage depth. Height is average at best. Throw in some very spacious and nicely layered midrange, and the the Classics have a better than average soundstage. Thanks to the superbly tuned midrange, the Meze imaging is really good.
 
Comparisons
 
Soundmagic HP150 ($130 to $200 USD on many sites)
This is a very interesting comparison because where one headphone isn’t elite, the other one is and vice versa. The HP150 is a personal favorite, offering a level of sound quality that rivals headphones that cost many times more its asking price.
 
Comparing the two, the HP150 has the sub bass response the 99 Classics can’t achieve. Moving over the midrange, the HP150 midrange is dry and has less dimension compared to the musical and three dimensional presentation of the Classics. As far as treble goes, Soundmagic has more sparkle and extension, but will also flirt with revealing sibilance much more than the Meze headphones. Soundstage goes to the HP150, with imaging going to the Meze. This is a toss up and a matter of preference. I might like the slightly cleaner and more extended HP150 sound just a bit more, but I can see many (especially those who are more treble sensitive than myself) preferring the more musical and smooth sound of the Classics.
 
Build quality goes to the Classics. The HP150 is mostly plastic, while the Meze is anything but that. Accessories are very similar, but I prefer the way the kevlar cables perform on the Meze 99 Classics.

 
Audio Technica ATH-M50 ($125 to $150 USD on many sites)
The ATH-M50 is a gateway drug the hobby of HiFi headphones. They are a reference monitor for many recording professionals. They have a very balanced sound with slight bass emphasis, similar to the Classics.
 
Comparing the two, the Classics is a more musical sounding headphone. They have more resonance at lower frequencies and have a warmer and more colored presentation at the lower part of the sound spectrum. The ATH-M50 seems more technical, cleaner and airy sounding, but doesn’t have the same quality midrange as the Meze offering.
 
Meze gets a decisive advantage in both build and accessories. They are all wood and metal while the M50 is mostly plastic parts. They offer detachable cables and a nice case while the M50 offers a synthetic leather pouch and an attached cable (the more expensive M50X comes with a detachable cable.

 
Conclusion
The Classics is a sexy looking pair of headphones. While I enjoy their sound, I think some more minor tweaks (like some driver/cup damping material) would help clean up the bass response. Fortunately for most of us Head-Fiers, we are ready, willing and able to do these types of things ourselves. Even if not, the sound presentation is respectable.
 
The build of the 99 Classics is excellent. They will make a showcase piece when resting on a nice headphone stand or next to your laptop in your listening quarters. Meze knows how to make a great looking, and pretty good sounding pair of cans.
 
When coming up with a star rating for the Classics I had to do an average of all aspects. I give the Classics three and a half stars for sound and comfort, and four and a half stars for design and build quality. Average that out, and I give the 99 Classics four stars. Just as advertised, they are a fun combination of art and music.
 
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Thanks for reading and happy listening!
antz123
antz123
Felt earnest and honest review. love the disclaimer stating no numbers or graphs :D as i dont understand that bit. and way you explained music was very much for someone like me to understand. Thank you
earfonia
earfonia
It looks gorgeous! I would love to try it :)
Thanks for the awesome review!
yawg
yawg
I suggest you should also try the BossHifi B8. They also have a great build quality with bigger walnut earcups, in fact this review reminds me of the B8's sound signature. But the B8 are more sensitive with 50 mm Beryllium drivers and have 16 Ohms impedance. They sound gorgeous even straight out of my Nokia N8 with FLACs. Plus their price is only 71 € on Ali Express.
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!
Pros: build quality, premium look, accessories set, sound
Cons: too fancy for portable usage on streets
Recently, I've joined the crowd of people, using Meze 99Classics as primary headphones (or at least one of them), and I'd like share my opinion and join the praising choir :)

First of all, I'll save some of your time, if you'll decide to read a review, and I'll skip almost everything, related to design, accessories and wear comfort. There are few dozens of reviews on Head-Fi, most of them covers this perfectly, and I can't add more to them. Just to summarise, Meze 99 looks great, sits comfortably on your head and has good set of accessories (carrying case, 2 cables, etc.). They fit on my head perfectly, and I have zero issues wearing them. One minor issue — earpads can be a bit small for people with big ears, but Meze promised to create a bigger earpads set, so this won't be a problem anymore in nearest future.
1MainPic.jpg

So, I'm skipping all this unboxing and other staff, and moving on to sound.

2Box.jpg

I've used following equipment for evaluation purposes.

  • NuPrime DAC-10H and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC and amplifier
  • Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2013 as a source
  • Fidelia as a player
  • Fiio X7 and Luxury & Precission L5Pro as portable players

I gave this Mezes about 48 hours of break-in, and they really improved their sound after first 20 hours of so.

Sound designers of this model decided not to follow current trend of neutral and audiophiliac sounding, and made main focus on "tasty" colored representation with a small hint of darkness. And 99 Classics definitely demonstrates that it was a good idea.
3Acessories.jpg

Bass has a small accent in mid-bass region, but it's polite and a slighly softened, so this cans doesn't sound as tough as typical basshead models. In general, lows resolution is enough for most genres, and there is a nice separation of lower register instruments. Also bass has good texture, but on low-quality recordings lows accent can be a bit "too much". Fortunately, those track are really rare and mostly occurred in modern pop-music. Deep bass in this model are rolled off a bit, but when necessary shows it's presence.

Mids are probably the strongest side of this headphones. It's really easy to fall in love with them after a few seconds of listening. Mids are represented smoothly and coherently, giving listener a good analog representation. "Classics" don't try to disassemble the music and highlight tiny nuances, like plannars do, their strong parts are emotions and vigor. An imaginary scene is good for closed headphones, although expectedly smaller then in open models. This headphones really begs about adding some good brandy and comfortable armchair.
7Inner.jpg

Treble also bear traces of painstaking tuning. They are detailed, but they do not try to move to the forefront and pulled the attention. They are performing traditional role of the cream topping on the cake, they are crowning the composition, giving it necessary airiness and lightness.

Several subjective comparisons.

Oppo PM3 This model is more suitable for portable because of folding construction and more strict appearance. From the sound point of view, PM-3 are more "boring", they do not have this pleasant effect of smoothness that Meze do. PM-3 have a little less bass, though it deeper, also PM-3 have better resolution in the midrange, while 99 Classics have more forgiving treble.
8Cable.jpg

Audio Technica MSR-7 Typical confrontation of "Asian" and "European" sound. Slightly brighter MSR-7 offers a more aggressive sound that reminds me fireworks and festivities, while a bit darkened Meze 99 Classics is more like a pleasant evening in a nice restaurant in a circle of close friends.

Sennheiser Momentum 2 Those ones do have a bit similar representation with accent on lows, but they simply don't reach the level of Meze. There is no such a noble and smooth mids, and treble is mory harsh and dry.

Compatibility
There is a wire with a headset included with the headphones, and indeed, "Classics" is quite usable with phones or tablets, their representation smoothes the shortcomings of today's mobile devices's sound. But this headphones really benefits from a good player or a desktop DAC/amp. So, this Meze well suited to the role of headphones that are bought "for growth", you can bought them and use with your existing source, and later upgrade the source to something better.
10WithFiioX7.jpg

Genre-wise headphones are pretty versatile, with the exception of the simplest styles of electronic music, badly recorded pop and styles like that. Tracks with a strong emphasis on the lows or with strong DR compression - not the best option for this headphones.

Conclusion

Meze spent few years, creating this headphones, and they are really worth that. Great stylish design, good sound and nice price — you have all three of those. For now, I'm pretty sure that 99 Classics are the best closed-back headphones in their price range.

I'd like to thank to Meze for providing me a sample in exchange to my honest opinion.

As usual, I've made a video, showing my initial impressions.

[VIDEO]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c5sJh2xi2U[/VIDEO]
cleg
cleg
@oldmate next time I'll definitely ask you where I should place any sentence in my review
mikek200
mikek200
One of the worst reviews I ever read
I agree with cleg,I had to read it 3x's,and still could not figure out ,what you were talking about
From your review,I will never buy this headphone,I learned NOTHING
jrflanne
jrflanne
So you wouldn't buy a pair of these based on this review, but you would buy them based on another review? Hmm, logical. 
 
Your review was fine, btw.How's the noise isolation?
Pros: Very comfortable, balanced sound, light weight
Cons: shallow ear cups, style not for everyone
It’s been awhile since I have posted a review here on Head-Fi, months ago I was talking with the company Meze about a review.  Just recently they asked me if I was still interested in reviewing there 99 Classics.  From hearing a bunch of positive things about them how could I say no.  Before I get started I would like to say thank you to Razvan from Meze for sending me out a demo unit to review.  I am in no way affiliated with Meze and this review is based on my honest opinion.  The Meze 99 Classics can be purchased directly from the link below for $309.00, the review sample I am reviewing is there Silver/Walnut headphone.
https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-gold-wood-headphones

 
SPECS
Transducer size: 40mm
Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
Impedance: 32Ohm
Rated input power: 30mW
Maximum input power: 50mW
Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
Ear-cups: walnut wood
DSC03229.jpg
 
DSC03241.jpg
 
Let me start off by introducing myself, my name is Adam I am 39yrs old and have been into high quality audio products since I was in high school. I am by no means an audiophile compared to the majority of members on Head-Fi.  I like to gear my reviews towards the average consumer since most searches on the internet land you on Head-Fi.  And to be honest more average consumers that are buying products are not audiophiles.  I was a little skeptical in what the Meze 99’s would sound like by first glance.  There are so many companies that are turning headphones and earbuds out.  Meze are what I would call a boutique style company, that doesn’t just turn products out. They have a very small lineup of products, but they are fairly new to the headphone scene.  
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Meze 99 Classics come packed in a very nice box that can be used for storage, the top and bottom of the box even have a soft foam inside.  The headphones come packed inside a hard clamshell case that’s a hard EVA with a zipper.  The carrying case is very nice and can be tossed in a backpack for traveling. In the center of the case is a case that holds all the cables and accessories.  The accessory case is a soft pouch with a zipper that sits nicely in the center of the headphones.
 
Meze 99 Classics are engineered and designed in Romania, then sent to China for manufacturing.  The One thing that really stands out when you first lay eyes on these are the CNC machined walnut wood cups.  The overall look to the Meze 99 Classics is classy, the name says it all.  They feel very sturdy and durable all the hardware is a die-cast zinc alloy.  A self adjusting headband is connected to two metal bands to keep them light weight.  The earcups  pivot on a 2-axis swivel to get just the right angle on your ears.  I have to say these are one of the most comfortable over ear headphones that I have ever used.  The earcups contain a medium density memory foam to conform to your head.  I by no means have big ears, some people might find the earcups to shallow. Meze 99 Classics are more of a headphone that I would only use in the house.  There not the type I would take out to work out in or ride the train.  
 
I am not going to get crazy and tell you every little detail about the accessories.  They do include two cables that are marked with a R & L. The one cable includes a mic and 3 function button for cell phone users. The headphones are symmetrical, so it doesn’t matter which way you put them on. Also included is a 6.3mm gold plated adaptor and a airplane jack, if anyone actually uses them on flights.  The cables are very nice and sturdy that are made with Kevlar and OFC wire.  The cables plug is slim enough that I had no problem using them with my phone with a case on.  You won’t find any cable slide on these, but they are just the right length that I didn't find it to be a problem. The Y splitter is constructed of some kind of durable rubber with a metal band on top.  Accessories are just a bonus and at certain price points I expect to see certain items included, Meze did a great job including the necessary items that I would expect.
 
DSC03243.jpg
 
Now to the part that’s most important the sound, Meze 99 Classics are very efficient and easy to drive.  All my listening was done with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and AK 100ii. Either using hi-res files or straight out of Spotify.  Like I said before I was very skeptical about these, I honestly haven’t heard much about this company until a few months ago.  I like to describe sound so the average consumer can understand if the headphone is worthy of their price tag.  Just being a little over $300 really isn't much for a quality headphone, but back when I first started to get into hi-res music I would think anything over $100 was to much.  So what do I think about them, I was pleasantly shocked after I let them burn in for 50+ hours.  If I had to sum them up in one word it would be very well balanced.  Ok that’s more than one word, by no means I would consider these neutral.  What I mean by balanced is there is just enough of the bass, mids and treble to make them sing in perfect harmony.  
 
The bass even goes into the sub-bass region, with a very clean mid-bass. You get that airy feeling when the bass hits when your music calls for it, the punch is just right.  The mids are where the Meze 99 Classics stand out.  For some reason they sound extra special with male vocals. There is a smoothness and clarity of higher end headphones. The treble extends just far enough without being ear piercing. Every instrument sounds as it should, with above average separation of instruments.  It’s hard for a closed back headphone to give you a sense of out of head experience.  But the Meze 99 Classics do a great job of not having you feel like you have to speakers strapped to the sides of your head. A good amount of headphones in this price range won’t give you the punchy low end and good extension in the highs, Meze designed these to have both without over doing one or the other.  That’s why to my ears they sound very
well balanced.  If they took away a little from the low end they would almost have a neutral sound signature.  
 
DSC03228.jpg

Meze 99 Classics are now one of my favorite goto headphones for in the house use.  The design might not be for everyone but the sound will sure win you over.  I listen to just about every kind of music besides country.  From 80s, 90,s rock, hip-hop to today's top hits.  Everything I throw at them the Meze 99 Classics did not disappoint.  I asked Razvan what we could expect in the future from Meze, there are plans down the road for a blue tooth and open back headphone.  That’s about all he could tell me, if there closed back headphone sounds this good you can count on me getting a pair of these open back headphones.  In the end I couldn’t be happier with the sound coming out of these. They are a jack of all and master many, the price may seem a little steep for the average listener. Besides the sound the one thing that really stands out is the quality of the materials and build. You won’t be disappointed if you audition these.
Pros: High-end looking and finishing. Detailed sound. Very good value for money.
Cons: None so far, but matter of personal taste, mids are in the high zone.
MEZE 99 Classic Review
Firstly, I’d like to thank the Meze team giving me the opportunity to do my very first public headphones review.
Frankly speaking, I was somehow skeptic when I applied for the “Europe tour review”,  since technically, Israel does not belongs geographically to EU, while participates in sports, such as basketball in the European league, for instance. So, why not to jump in the European Headphone Tour then? Here we go.
I got the Meze 99 Classics by mail last week, and  I got myself immediately on them.
This review is divided in two sections: the full section and the inpatient’s one. You can decide by yourself which one fits you most.
FULL REVIEW  
  1. PACKAGE

The first impression I got after opening the mail parcel was the high level of quality of the outer box, black with engravings and golden fonts. On the side, relevant technical information, such as frequency, sensitivity and impedance, among others. On the back, a tempting headphones picture with some basic characteristics. Nice!
M3.jpg
 
Opening the outer box (from the side, it took me a couple of attempts  before I figured out it is not a sliding box) showed the carrying case . Here again, the cover of the outer box is cushioned to protect the headphones, giving an additional feeling of overall quality product. Along with the carrying case with the headphones inside, a leaflet provides some basic info along with a decibels table with safety recommendations.
The carrying case contains the headphones (finally!) with other small pocket including: audio cable, iPhone cable, 3.5 mm jack adaptor and airplane audio adaptor. Cool! -  The audio cable is long enough to plug it to a desk amplifier giving enough free of movements, with no need to stay close to it when playing.
M2.jpg
 
The overall aspect of the Meze 99 Classic headphones is quite impressive: after opening the high quality box, finding a wooden cups headphone with PU leather cups and head support with a black matte finish metallic double spring that makes you smile, congratulating yourself for having  such a good product.  A quick check showed no sharp edges, lack of termination details, rattling or loose parts. No any special smell to mention. The tact feeling is always good and inviting to touch the ear cups, the head arch and the soft PU leather surfaces. Organoleptic tests: Pass!
Despite they look solid and durable, they are quite light (290 grams) and you notice that each time you pick them  up.
The L and R plugs are relatively small, but they are well designed with strain relieves. Cable is thick, braided and therefore, anti – tangling. The iPhone cable has a button for answering calls and play-stop music with next and previous track, but not volume up and down. Connectors are gold plated.
No “L”eft  or “R”igh marks on the cups makes you scratch your head until you figure out the L and R marks are engraved in the cable, since they have separated cables to plug (or replace) instead of ‘built-in’ annoying typical cables.  Plugging the cables into the caps is smooth and the cables remain firmly attached, even if they are accidentally pulled out.  Well done Meze!
I’d say that the Meze 99 Classic not only looks good, but also feels good, even sexy if I may say. The look and feel of these are just fantastic. You can just leave them in your table as a decorative item, or you can even play with them, getting amazed by the wooden cups, PU leather surfaces , the delicate yet solid springs and the golden details that get all the unit together an amazing aspect.  No doubt the designers invested a lot of thinking about the overall experience,  besides how well they may sound.
M1.jpg
 
Wearing them (after taking a second look to the cables to identify L and R sides, which I found to a little bit annoying) is very comfortable and natural, no further adjustment was needed.
  1. SOUND TESTING

I have to confess that reading other headphones reviews (while I was aware of not reading the Meze 99 Classics’ ones to avoid biasing), I was curious why most reviewers do not jump directly into the sound itself, spending a lot of time with other no-sound related characteristics.
Now I get it. No matter how good a pair of headphones may sound, if they are not comfortable, too heavy or even ugly, well… you won’t use them. This is not the case if the Meze 99 Classics: you WANT to wear them, hoping the sound would be at least as nice as the package and aesthetics.
So let’s talk about the setup:
  1. Source files: TIDAL high resolution streaming
  2. Amplifier/ DAC: Vamp Verza, ‘flat’ settings with no 3D  effect neither extra-bass
  3. Comparison headphones:
    1. Sony MDR-10RNC (with cancelling function off when testing)
    2. V-Moda Crossfade M-100
    3. Velodyne V-True
    4. Sol Republic V10

The above  headphones were selected since they are also over the ear and at the similar price range. I found not adequate to compare the Meze 99 Classics with other on-ear or in-hear ones due to different technologies and sounding aspects.
Tracks were selected based on my personal taste, assuming that for those I like most, I’ll be able to identify  subtle  musical differences if any, and let me explain: if something sound less good than expected, well, too bad; but if something I familiar with sounds surprisingly good, then… Bingo! We have a winner here.
Tracks list:
For initial impression (no comparisons were done here)
  1. Terri Walker, Mos def: Guess you didn’t love me
  2. Aretha Frankly: Walk on By
  3. Led Zeppelin: The raining song
  4. Madonna: Vogue
  5. FYC: She drives me crazy
  6. Bossacucanova: Vai levando
  7. Arthur Beatrice: Carter
  8. Mocean Worker: The sky is black
  9. John Martin: Over the hill

For testing comparing with the reference headphones:
  1. Holly Cole: Jersey girl; because the level of detail and high quality recording
  2. Bent: Terry; because the deepness of the ambience
  3. Baby Mammoth: because I l like this particular song very much and know it well
  4. Hiromi: Seeker, because the female voice
  5. Da Lata: Firefly, because the percussion instrumentation, soundstage and sound separation

I hope those that have the opportunity and patience to read this review will be curious enough to check those tracks by themselves and like them as well. (Bonus track in section Update #1 below).
So, how do they sound? Actually, quite well. Without coming into pompous hi-tech wording, I’d say these headphones sound very natural and mostly, clear and clean. Looking for the right term to define them, probably these can be filed under ‘happy’ headphones. They sound ‘happy’ and makes you feel that way.
Let me explain: Both highs and lows (bass) are really good, not exaggerated whatsoever– that’s why they sound so natural- and couldn't find any tested track that could be felt as that the headphones are neither missing something (frequencies) or struggling with them (saturation).
The point is with the middles: from my humble opinion, they are calibrated in the higher scale of mids, that’s why they sound so ‘clear’ and ‘happy’, yet not strident. The proof of this was more evident when playing female voice, where it is relatively easy to spot the mids are slightly higher than expected, especially if you are already familiar with a particular track. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s just matter of particular taste, that’s why I’d recommend these headphones to ‘happy’ songs, but less for those deep or blue ones. In that case, a more neutral, bass or even dark oriented headphone will suit better, again, just according to my particular taste.
One word about ‘sound separation’ since I do not believe on soundstaging when playing music with headphones. The sound separation is actually very, very good. Each sound can be spotted around and above your head, contributing to the overall impression of ‘live’, ‘brilliant’ or ‘sparkling’ headphones.
(If I have more time, I’m going to perform additional testing through a valve amplifier, just to see if that changes the sound signature).
CONCLUSSION (AKA ‘Inpatients section’):

I’m happy that I had the opportunity of testing these marvelous headphones and writing a review. Any comment, suggestion or correction is more that welcome.
The Meze 99 Classics are gorgeous, well designed and better manufactured headphones, and no doubt that anyone that tried them would agree. They are really comfortable – I even felt asleep wearing them- so you can enjoy them during long listening sessions. The headphones are lightweight but build to last, and the carrying case certainly contributes to that end. Some friends of mine saw them and they were immediately feeling envy, asking where to buy them.
Compared with other similar headphones (those I have in my collection), they are the clear winner, sounding natural, clear and ‘dynamic’ if I may say. Matter of taste, mids seem to be on the high side of the scale while again, that could be due to my personal taste of the set up used (I’ll try again later with a different setup). Probably that can be adjusted with any particular amplifier, tweaking bass and treble, while not cheating with any nasty equalization device or software.
Hope others will enjoy the Meze 99 Classics as much as I did. Certainly I’ll get a pair of these, while I believe the white version fits most the heart and soul of these surprisingly good for its price headphones.
UPDATE 1:
After trying the Meze 99 Classics through a portable valve amplifier, the sound turned out ‘sweeter’ making the mids sounding more relaxed. No sure if other reviewers tested them with valve amps or compared them with digital and analog sources. In any case, they still sound amazing and far better than those compared with. (Track tested: “All Over Again”, Stanley Clarke, because the bright bass and the female voice).
UPDATE 2:
Since I tested they headphones alone home, couldn’t check noise leaking and noise isolation.
Well, a friend of mine came home today and I give him a try. Then he told me the isolation was very good even when playing a normal volumes. I did not notice any leaking at that volume level either. One more star for Meze 99 Classics!
 
 
 
 
 
clagros
clagros
Beauty in the eye of the beholder...
Cinder
Cinder
מה נישׁמה? אני יהודי! לא יוֹדה ישׁ ישראלים אחרים באתר זה.
VingtorAsator
VingtorAsator
Would you try listening to these with heavy metal or rock music? I'm looking for new headphones stepping up from my trusty Fostex T40 Mk3(modded) and I listen mostly to rock and metal. Thanks
Pros: Pleasant Sound Signature, Even Frequency Response, Superb Design, Comfortable
Cons: Drivers Are Too Close to Ears, Mids Are a Bit Too Strong
Background:
 
I’m a 30 year old bank examiner and an audio enthusiast. My other hobbies are cars, fitness and occasional clubbing. I’ve been an “audiophile” since I got my first stereo system in 2010 (Yamaha amp and Monitor Audio speakers). I still enjoy speakers a lot, listen to Dali speakers these days, but I like headphones as well, especially when I’m doing stuff on computer or I’m outside somewhere.
 
I prefer full, balanced sound with elevated bass. I dislike harsh treble and treble peaks, I also dislike pronounced upper midrange. I enjoy slight upper midrange dips for fatigue-free listening experience. I listen to most genres, but I prefer electronic music, dance music, alternative and other modern genres but I also enjoy classical a lot, especially when it’s a live performance. Extended and powerful bass response is important to me.
 
Meze 99 Classics Specs:
 
  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. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
  8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
  9. Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
  10. Ear-cups: walnut wood
 
Accessories:

Carrying case, 2 set of cables (1 long cable and 1 short cable with mic), aeroplane adapter, 3.5mm to 6.4mm adapter.
 
99-classics-accessories.jpg
 
Design and Fit:
 
 Meze 99 Classics could be the dream headphones for people who like headphones made from wood. The cups are made from walnut and have a satin finish wood grain. It feels very nice and luxurious in hand. It also looks very attractive and yummy. The design is also very fashionable. It is a headphone that can turn heads in public, as the combination of wood and gold look very attractive together. It is not a particularly manly or feminine design and will look good on everyone. The good thing is even if you don’t like the gold look, Meze offers other choices as well such as the silver design.
 
Meze 99 Classics are over-ear headphones and cover around my ears. They are also fairly comfortable. However, my ears touch the fabric inside the cups, thus my ears are very close to the driver. This has a huge effect on the sound signature of 99 Classics and is probably the intended wearing style as the sound signature will be different if the pads were larger and ears were further from the driver. I will speak of this in Sound Analysis section of the review. For most people, 99 Classics will be very comfortable headphones, especially for the intended portability purpose. 
 
Sound Analysis
 
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I exclusively listened to EDM and contemporary pop with 99 Classics. Some tracks I have listened to: This One's For you by David Guetta, This Girl by Kungs, Tears by Clean Bandit, Sex by Cheat Codes, This is What You Came For by Calvin Harris, Bonbon by Era Istrefi, Too Good By Drake, Lyrics by Skepta and many others.
 
99 Classics are very easy to drive. They sound good from iPhone 6s or Chord Mojo. I think they don’t scale much, if at all. Actually I think iPhone 6s’ flat and neutral sound signature fits better to 99 Classics than the slightly fuller and warmer tonality of Chord Mojo. In terms of bass performance or detail, I did not find to Mojo to add anything over iPhone 6s, only volume.
 
99 Classics are fairly balanced headphones. The bass is slightly elevated but this is necessary since these are portable headphones and in noisy environments low frequencies are the first to suffer. Thus, out and about these will sound very neutral in low frequencies. In quiet environments, these will have slightly elevated bass response but not even that much. I do not find it anywhere near basshead levels. Just right enough to enjoy EDM, pop and other contemporary music.
 
Mids are the strongest point of 99 Classics. If you are a mid lover, then you’re in for a treat. The reason why mids sound strong is due to the design of 99 Classics. The drivers are very close to ears and this makes the mids sound louder and stronger. Just try it with any V-shaped headphones you have. For instance, Fostex TH900s fit loosely around the ears and the ears are far from the drivers. TH900s are, by their nature, v-shaped headphones. However, if you press the earpads towards your ears, you will hear more mid detail and the sound will become less v-shaped. If, as people have been speaking in 99 Classics threads, Meze start to sell some bigger, traditional size earpads, I believe the sound will become less mid-focused. I would see this as a welcome change, because I like mids as neutral or slightly pushed back. I am not a fan of in-your-face mids. If you like your mids, however, 99 Classics will be great for you. There is actually a slight dip in upper mids and this was probably by choice to prevent upper mid harshness but low-mids and mid-mids are very strong.
 
Treble of 99 Classics are airy and present but never harsh. If you like excitement in music and enjoy treble, you will like 99 Classics. Even if you prefer headphones with reduced treble, you will still like 99 Classics. The treble is present and extended but also flat and polite.
 
As far as soundstage goes, both depth and width are very good for closed-back, portable headphones. These do not feel like closed-back headphones at all. I found 99 Classics great for multimedia purposes and enjoyed watching films with them very much as there was a very 3D soundstage and great explosions due to the bass capabilities of the headphones.
 
As far as comparisons go, I find my Noble K10U Aluminium and Ultrasone Edition M  to be easily superior to 99 Classics as they should be due to the price difference. They play on a higher technical level on every part of the frequency response. Compared to Oppo PM-3, a more fair comparison can be made. PM-3 will give you more technical performance, more detail retrieval, more scalibility, more powerful bass and fuller sound. 99 Classics will give you a wider and bigger soundstage, more treble excitement (but not necessarily more detail) and better performance for films and games.
 
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Conclusion
 
99 Classics are great headphones at their price point. They are very nice allrounders and can be used at home and outside for various purposes whether it be music, games or films. I would easily recommend them to people who enjoy fun factor rather than analysing music and for people who prefer to have only one set of headphones. In the future, I hope to see headphones with 50mm biocellulose drivers from Meze Headphones with the same wood design. As portable headphones, you cannot go wrong with 99 Classics. Recommended.
Pros: WOW, seriously wow. Looks fantastic. Wow bass. Wow treble.
Cons: Way too much wow. Shallow cups hurt my ears.
Meze 99 Classics Quick Review by mark2410
 
Thanks to Meze for the loaner.
 
Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/813263/meze-99-classics-review-by-mark2410
 
Brief:  All the wow and dazzle Romainia can muster.
 
Price:  US$309 or 309 euro’s.  (£232 or £259)
 
Specification:  Transducer size 40mm, Frequency response 15Hz - 25KHz, Sensitivity 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW, Impedance 32Ohm, Rated input power 30mW, Maximum input power 50mW, Cable make and material, Detachable Kevlar OFC cable, Plug 3.5mm gold plated, Weight 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
 
Accessories:  Baggy for the cable and bits, a hard case for everything, a long non phone cable, a shorter phone cable, a 6.25 to 3.5mm adapter and lastly a plane adapter.
 
Build Quality:  Sumptuous.  Its looks superb, it feels superb.  This is an item of Quality.
 
Isolation:  Pretty fair, you could maybe get away with using these on a bus.  Fine for walking out and about if you were so inclined.  Not one for Tube or flights though.  Oh and as ever you’ll need to look out for wheeled chariots of death because you won’t hear traffic.
 
Comfort/Fit:  Fit was great, on and done.  Comfort though, the pads got all around my ears but the cups were shallow enough that the insides rested directly on my ears.  This rapidly got oppressive and grew to pain.  After an hour I wanted them off and hurled across the room.
 
Aesthetics:  They look stunningly good.  I didn’t love the cream but even still, damn they look great don’t they?  I can’t imagine anyone not thinking these look impressive even if they may not be to their own personal tastes.
 
Sound:  Wow.  Wow again.  They are V shaped but with a flat bottom.  The bass is elevated, very seriously elevated and loves to come rip roaring out of nowhere at you.  Its great quality though so that I don’t mind so much.  It’s punchy with a hint of bloom, a pretty spot on blend actually.  Though a little less maybe of it.  Actually if it would maybe just take a Valium and sit the F down for a bit.  It’s like someone just fed it a bag of sugar and fistfuls of blue Smartie’s.  The treble is just the same.  Too excitable, super impressive for sure, I mean it is seriously impressive but oh good lord please just sit still for a bit, please.  Now these certainly make a massively impressive first impression.  It’s simply all of the wow, so much wow, it’s off the charts impressive.  The mids, they are less wild but have a great breadth to them.  Lots of openness and a touch dry, great detail retrieval though and great clarity.
 
Still the V shaped nature of the bass and treble I find overwhelming.  If it were the bass on its own it would be fine but the treble, ahh for me that’s too much.  Its Grado esq treble with a spike in there up somewhere high that is just exhausting to my ears.
 
Value:  So long as you want its sound then it quite comfortably beats the Senn Momentum Over-Ears acoustically and detail levels.  It also looks fantastic.  Overall it’s a high quality item, more than deserving of its price.
 
Pro’s:  WOW, seriously wow.  Looks fantastic.  Wow bass.  Wow treble.
 
Con’s:  Way too much wow.  Shallow cups hurt my ears.
voxie
voxie
Hey Mark, thanks for sharing. Just wondering are they built to last re everyday commute? 
mark2410
mark2410
well time is the only true test but they are really very very nicely constructed. i would expect they would survive well especially given the cable is easily changed (they the bit that usually goes) and the whole things can be dismantled and repaired, i would expect them to live as long as you want them to. if anything i would say their somewhat noticeable looks could be the biggest problem, you look at them and you can tell they were expensive so it might be a bit of an invitation to thieves.
voxie
voxie
Thanks Mark for your reply, agree re an invitation to thieves.
Pros: Inviting Sound, Ease of Use, Comfort, Build
Cons: Slides Back with Tilted Head
I want to thank the MezeTeam over at Head Fi for allowing me the chance to review the 99 Classics as part of their Tour. 
 
You can purchase the 99 Classics in three colors right from their web site
https://www.mezeheadphones.com/headphones.
 
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The team over at Meze was kind enough to launch a Tour for the 99 Classics back in December, even better they will be awarding a pair of the 99 Classics to one of the participants! I always enjoy working with products from a company that's as passionate about their potential customer base as they are about their products! 
 
Box and Packing 
 
The 99 Classics arrive in an elegant black box. Gold lettering and the faded silhouette of the 99 Classics make for an excellent first impression. I always appreciate minimalist packing, there's something to be said for simplicity. 
 
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The box is held closed by a magnetic flap, with the headphones secured inside of semi hard shell case. The shell it self has a textured black finish and forms itself around the unique shape head band and ear cups. I found the case to be extremely easy to handle and rugged. Again, I'm noticing a bit of a trend here with their design choices. 
 
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Build Quality and Design
 
The 99 Classics have a great in the hands feel to them, the metal head band is rigid while the suspension strap flexible to it. Overall, it feels solid, the metal headband does flex with a little effort and has just a little tension on it, allowing for an comfortable fit. It was neither loose, nor excessively tight on my head. 
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The Walnut cups are beautiful, and well complimented by the gold assembly. Personally, I think the gold compliment the walnut better than the silver. I love the shape and stain of the cups too. The overall design is gorgeous to look at.​
 
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For a smaller headphone, I found the ePads to be rather spacious.  The material was supple and breathable, it didn't get nearly as warm as I would have expected it to. The addition of a removable cable is much appreciated as well, I had no issues with the 3.5mm jacks nor the termination ports. 
 
 
Overall, I'm fond of the design! I love the visual style of the headphone in addition to how easy it is to operate, it didn't feel delicate or brittle. Taking it on and off my head was hassle free as was transporting it. While I wouldn't want to walk around with the headphone, it's design makes such portable use a realistic possibility.  It was comfortable to wear and simple. Again, I really appreciate the more minimalist design they've implemented. Even better is that each part can be individually replaced as needed. An with nothing glued down, assembly and disassembly is simple. 
 
While, I do not know the full in's and outs of the warranty being offered by Meze, I can speak for the modding and DIY guys who will appreciate the simplicity of build, as well as the availability of parts. An I my self personally enjoy being able to repair and service my own equipment when possible. However please be aware that any modification of self imposed repairs my void the warranty, so always check with the manufacturer first. 
 
Sound 
 
If you'd like an idea of my preference and what I gauge as neutral check out this article.  
 
 Overall, I found the 99 classics to be very warm and organic. The sound stage and micro detail were on par with most of the closed back headphones I've heard in this price range. What really stood out to me, was how effortlessly the 99 classics switched from genre to genre. 
 
Starting with the lows, there was ample punch and decay to the bass. They had enough impact for heavier faster genres like Drum n Bass or Dub Step, while also proving to be tame enough to handle acoustic folk and rock.  
 
The mids are sweet, with a little less edge than I like but still enough excitement for me to enjoy both metal and jazz. It paired nicely with both high quality and poorly recorded music, proving to be warm but not mushy. 
 
Up top the 99 classics have enough air to bring out some of the fainter details, without being overly transparent. Making an excellent compliment to both my binaural classical as well some of my poorly ripped 50's pop. 
 
All in all, these are a touch bassy than true neutral, but offer a very inviting and forgiving sound! I loved being able to just enjoy my music without necessarily having to make a lot of EQ adjustments. 
 
Specs & Comparisons 
  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. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable​
  8. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated​
  9. Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables​
  10. Ear-cups: maple wood​
  11.  ​
I sourced them from my LG V10, Audio GD NFB10ES2 and Hifiman HM901/601, an I again found them to be very consistent, offering a similar sound from source to source. While moving up to higher quality sources did yield a more detailed and controlled sound, there were no significant or major losses moving down. 
 
 99 Classics vs Sennheiser HD 25-1 ii
 
In terms of sound, the two headphones have a very different signature. Overall, I found the 99 Classics to have a more balanced softer sound, again making it easier to move between genres. The HD 25-1 ii was darker overall with a better controlled sub bass, but was a touch grainy up top. 
 
Still in terms of function, the headphones differ in design. You find the HD 25-1 ii popular with a lot of DJs for it's incredible isolation, and aptitude for bass heavy music. Not to mention it's nearly indestructible, how ever it's not really all that attractive and has a NASTY peak at around 8.4khz. So yea, with proper EQ  and a quality source the HD 25-1 ii can exceed the 99 Classics, but at the cost of simplicity and comfort.  
 
That being said, I like using my HD 25-1 ii exclusively when I work out with a Rock Boxed hm601 with also has a rather complicated and very specific eq setting just for the HD 25-1 ii, so outside of the very specific chain that I have for the HD 25-1 ii, I enjoyed the 99 Classics out of all of my each of my sources, without the need for any EQ. 
 
 
Conclusion 
Again I'd like to thank the MezeTeam for offering me the chance to listen to these, and I would honestly recommend them to any one in the market for a closed back headphone within this price range. It's simplicity and versatility make it an excellent choice for both new and experienced listeners. Plus it's gorgeously assembled wood and metal build, will ensure that it's both a pleasure to listen to and look at. Candy for your eyes and ears! 
 
Pros: Midrange and treble performance found on much more expensive headphones
Cons: Sometimes overeager bass response
Meze Headphones is a newcomer to the headphone scene, though you wouldn't know it if you gave their full-size 99 Classics Gold headphone a look and a listen. If there was ever a situation in head-fi-dom that gives cause to the maxim "don't judge a book by its cover," the 99 Classics might well be it. I know I was guilty of running afoul. I thought that Meze was competing more on looks than performance. Time to eat some crow.
Description
The 99 Classics have quite the distinctive appearance. The review sample came dressed in walnut and gold trim. Personal preference left me feeling that it might look slightly out of place in the office. Meze offers two other combinations - walnut / silver and maple / gold. Out of the three, I think the walnut / silver is definitely the most elegant.
The walnut ear cups are satin finished and smooth to the touch. Their size was on the smallish side, which reminded me a lot of the Sennheiser Momentum. And like the Senns, I had to move the ear cups back so that the backside of the my earlobe just slid into the opening. The ear pads didn't sit against the nape of my neck like most full-size cans do, but I felt that I got a good seal anyway. (This was also borne out in the listening - you'll understand later.) The ear pads themselves are fairly thin and firm.
Clamping force provided by the steel headband is comfortably snug. I didn't feel like my head was clamped in a vise, nor was I worried that the headphones would fly off my head if I had to suddenly look up from typing on the keyboard. Height adjustments are automatic, there's an elastic band hidden in the leather wrapped head pad that lengthens or shortens as you move the headphones down or up. They're also quite light - definitely comfortable enough for long listening sessions.
A great feature is the fact that the earcups are symmetrical - left and right only exist when you plug in the cables. The left connector has a slight ridge to let you know by feel which side you're grasping. The only quibble I have here is that the cable is fairly microphonic. It's probably not much of a concern when moving about, but can be a little distracting in a quiet environment.
Another set of cables with mic and volume controls are included, as well as a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter, an airplane adapter, a microfiber pouch to hold the loose items, and a stylish rigid carrying case to keep everything together.
Overall, I was very pleased at the level of fit and finish that the 99 Classics displayed. Meze clearly did their homework here.
Listening
Now, build quality is one thing, sound quality is another. Here, the 99 Classics deliver... mostly. The tonal balance and articulation of the midrange and treble is simply exquisite. On "I'm Old Fashioned", Coltrane's opening exposition had a nearly perfect blend of warmth, inner detail, and air. Fuller's trombone and Kelly's trumpet also possessed a warm glow that would match the performance from much more expensive headphones. Cymbal strikes didn't devolve into tizz and fizz. Drew's piano solo sounded expressive, warm, and eminently human. The Meze was clearly punching above its weight class in these frequency registers. Bass, however, came across a little too juiced. It didn't quite strike the right balance as the mids and highs did, electing to telegraph weight and tone at the expense of relaying the finer points of Chambers' technique. Swapping in "Al vaiven de mi carreta" from Afrocubism, the bass sounded nicely filled in and better balanced with the rest of the mix. Vocals were spot on and images well delineated, but I noted a lack of depth to the presentation.
Pumped up bass can sometimes prove to be an Achilles' heel on classical music. I cued up 'Jupiter' from Charles Dutoit's interpretation of The Planets, and encountered a decidedly pleasant surprise. In this case, the bass response of the 99 Classics imbued the presentation with a concert hall-like feel. In other words, it made the headphone sound bigger than it actually was. The presentation was very immediate - you definitely have a front row seat with the 99 Classics. Spatial resolution was good, but again it was in the traditional sense where images appear in a straight line from left to right through the head. The 99 Classics proved their worth in the deft way it handled the dynamics of the orchestra while finessing the sonics with detail and air. Impressive. Moving on to Chesky's release of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, I detected a slight unevenness during Wild's opening run on the keys, possibly due to the tipped-up bass. Strings possessed good body and pizzicatos had a clear pluck with a halo of tone following soon thereafter. However, the 99 Classics struggled to fully reproduce the acoustic of the performance hall.
The slight unevenness in the lower registers held the Meze back from consistently turning in stellar performances on modern pop and rock. On "Ship to Wreck", the bass line and kick drum were a little too phat, but still tuneful. And I registered no complaints on the portrayal of Welch's vocals - smooth and with a hint of warmth. When I listened to "Intervention" from Arcade Fire's second album, Neon Bible, lower notes from bowed bass had a slight emphasis while the kick drum was a touch overbearing. Contrast this with "Since I've Been Loving You", where John Paul Jones' bass line was more prominent than usual but still believably balanced within the mix. The 99 Classics also turned in a satisfying performance on Adele's "Water Under the Bridge" from her latest album, 25. Vocals were neither sexed up nor toned down, snare hits possessed good snap and air, and cymbal strikes were portrayed with clean timbre. But another track on that same album, "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," had the lows sounding a bit overhyped.
I also noticed that the 99 Classics seemed to shine on the AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2 rather than my Sonett 2 / C-5xeMP, so most of the impressions I've laid out are from the former setup rather than the 'he-man' rig. I detected a slight bit of chestiness around Joao Gilberto's introductory vocals in "Girl from Ipanema" with the Sonett 2 in charge, along with a more resonant character to plucked bass and guitar notes. Perhaps the lower output impedance of the DragonFly controlled the drivers better.
Comparisons
The NAD VISO HP50 has been somewhat of a benchmark in relatively affordable sealed headphones. It has a slightly warmer sound signature and the midbass displays a propensity for coloring the sound just a hair. Its midrange and treble clarity are a small notch down from the 99 Classics, which seem to capture inner detail a bit better. However the HP50's offer better bass control, whether driven from a tube or solid state amp.
The Oppo PM-3 is a step up in price and a slight jump in sound quality. Its midrange is creamy smooth, but treble presence is a little softened next to the 99 Classics. The Oppo also takes a step back from articulation in favor of tone, but offers a more even-keeled presentation. The Meze counters with a more dynamic, impactful experience.
Conclusions
Meze clearly has a very competitive headphone in the 99 Classics. I feel that if the bass response was dialed in just a bit more without touching the midrange and treble, they'd have an instant classic in their hands. For now, I think the 99 Classics work best for the closet basshead with a low output impedance amp who doesn't want to sacrifice midrange and treble refinement. My bet is that probably describes a lot more audiophiles than they'd like to admit.
 
Associated Equipment
Headphones - Audeze LCD-XC, NAD VISO HP50, Oppo PM-3
Amplification - AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2, DNA Sonett 2
Sources - AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2, Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP
Cabling - Analysis Plus Pro Oval Studio balanced, Analysis Plus Pro Power Oval
Power / tweaks - Bryston BIT 15, UpTone Audio USB REGEN
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Pros: Good amount of bass, very strong mids, comfortably extended treble, easily driven, detachable cables, unique aesthetics, great isolation, carry case
Cons: Space for ears a bit small, clamp needs time to break in, might get too hot after extended use in the summer, hard to lean back with due to the band

 
Background
 
It was a curious moment in my recent history of trying out various headphones, the day I first put on the Meze 99 Classics. I already knew, judging from other reviews, that I wasn’t in for a neutral experience, but rather one with a “fun” sound signature. Yet again, I find myself reviewing such a headphone – but this time I ran into far fewer shortcomings than I have in the past.
 
The idea of this sound signature is that neutrality be damned, music is for pleasurable listening. They accentuate traits that sound enticing, vibrant and joyous at the sacrifice of an overall balanced sound. The ZMF Omni did this by having a very natural mids and bass-centric sound at the cost of slightly rolled off treble. The Fostex TH-X00 did this by having excellently deep and present bass, enjoyable lower-mids and extended treble – but it struggled to reproduce upper-mids and female vocals well. The treble also got quite harsh and sibilant to my ears at times. The Shozy Zero had a slightly bassy and mids-forward sound signature that did incredibly well with electronic music genres, but it too had slightly rolled off treble that prevented it from shining with other genres.
 
Knowing full well that the 99 Classics were out to achieve a similar listening experience, one that lies to you in terms of presentation but in a way you can easily forgive given certain parameters, I was honestly surprised – and in a good way. But more on that later.
 
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Specifications (from the Meze website)
 
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
 
 
Build, Design & Comfort
 
I find the design of the 99 Classics to be a rather contentious issue in the headphone community. I rarely find any indifference toward it as individuals either seem to love it or think it is tacky. My first thought was “this is rather unique.” Given my biases in headphone aesthetics, the Meze offering fell well into my spectrum of appreciation because I have a strong affinity for wooden earcups. However, the reason I like the design goes beyond that. Out of all the headphones I have seen yet, this looks the most like something out of a steampunk setting, and that by itself is unique in a world populated with plastic and Beats style brand-shouting. If Corvo from Dishonored owned a pair of headphones, it would look a lot like the Meze 99 Classic.
 
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On further inspection, you will not find plastic in its construction either. There are three visible materials to the eye – walnut wood, leather and metal. Apparently the construction does not make use of glue either, preferring screws. The slider adjustment is without any incremental changes, rather going for an approach where you pull the earcups into place, after which they hold steadily.
 
It comes in three color configurations: Walnut Gold, Walnut Silver (which I have with me) and Maple Silver. The Maple Silver makes use of white pleather, cables and metal in its design to complement the paler wood. If I had to choose between the three, I would choose what I have – the Walnut Silver. Once again, my bias is showing because I prefer darker wood in both the construction of headphones and acoustic guitars.  
 
These are very light headphones indeed. After bouts with the Hifiman HE-500 and ZMF Omni, the 99 Classics are very much an unencumbered fit on my head for long periods of time. The clamp force is a bit high at first, but adjusts over the course of a few days. The seal provided is a very good factor in its isolation, which is a great deal higher than the other full-sized headphones mentioned in this review. However, the earpads themselves are only big enough to just fit your ears. Mine just about make it and I have medium-large ears. As summer comes to England, I have found the pads to get quite hot on extended usage. Due to the extremely fitted design, there is less space for the ears to breathe – a tradeoff for an incredibly good seal and its musical benefits.
 
I could not find any discernible difference in earpad width on either side as they are quite uniform. Any distinguishing of the left and right channels will purely rely on the placement of the attached cable – which have the markings on them rather than on the headphones themselves.
 
Lying down with these headphones can be a bit awkward due to the metal ring on top. Leaning against a pillow or wall can be met with a sharp knock against it, making it so you have to re-adjust. Lounging around in these will take some getting used to.
 
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Features
 
On that note, I am very satisfied with the two cables provided by Meze. One is a cable for portable use with your smartphone as it has a play/pause button attached and is at the preferred length. The other is 10ft and for home usage. Both cables terminate in 3.5mm, with a 1/4 adapter being provided in the box. They are lean, flexible and braided and will last a good while. There is no neck adjustment however. The existence of detachable cables alone is a big plus in my book and makes for easier transportation.
 
And speaking of transportation, the carrying case provided in the box is another feature I am quite impressed by. It is sturdy and quite handsome, ready for a home in any backpack for easy transport. The box itself is not easily discarded either, it too has a premium look to it.
 
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Sound
 
A major reason I like my ZMF Omni Cherry is because of how it reproduces acoustic guitars. It has a very natural sound to it, making it an excellent pairing with acoustic songs. My first big, and lasting, impression from the Meze Classic 99 was just how well it did in this regard too. One of my favourite tests for a headphone’s capability in this field is to run my own recorded acoustic guitar playing through it. It had a similar natural feel that the Omni had, with the major differences being in how it was not as laid back and how the soundstage was far more intimate.
 
The sound of the Meze’s goes into the “fun” tuned realm, with a major element of doing so being its slightly boosted bass. The bass extends quite far down too, undoubtedly aided by the isolation provided by the seal. After switching back and forth with the Fostex TH-X00, I found that it was the second deepest sub-bass in my current headphone collection after those. I never found it to be too much, too overbearing or too artificial. Instead, it has a very punchy sound signature with a lot of oomph to it that goes immensely well with electronic music genres. I don’t hear any bleed into the mids either, the separation is quite clean. However, the bass has a slight earthy quality that removes from any sense of cleanliness, with a tiny bit of distortion that isn’t audible on most recordings. However, I find that this might aid the sound signature rather than hinder it as it is a very organic sound.
 
The mids are very, very impressive. I would sing an ode the lower-mid magic that is taking place that allows the reproduction of acoustic guitars to be so inviting, similar to the Omni but a bit more energized - to the slight detriment of a natural touch. There is a smoothness to the midrange that insists on reproducing the body of vocals, both male and female, quite amply with quite stellar clarity. If a song, such as Stairway to Heaven or In the Air Tonight, chooses to build up slowly - you will hear each and every instrument addition in the mix and be able to discern it quite aptly. I find this a feat on a headphone with this narrow of a soundstage, with this isolated and closed of a design. I do not know if it is the walnut wood cups, but it feels like the midrange has more room to breathe than a plastic pair of headphones would. Therefore, separation is quite good to say the least.
 
The treble is the region I slightly feared for before I put these on for the first time. I had heard good things about the bass and mids, but in my experience such characteristics are often at the cost of the high end. It would either feel too artificial and forced, be too rolled off to make way for the other frequencies or be too sibilant. Interestingly, it was none of these things. It does not venture into problematically sibilant territory and neither does it seem to linger around, banging on a ceiling limit that would stifle cymbals and other instruments that make use of treble.
 
I would even go so far to call this a balanced pair of headphones, to an extent. Yes, the bass is a bit boosted – but it does not take away from just how well the other frequencies are represented. A  pleasant low-end, coupled with a warm and accurate midrange (vocal harmonies and the like showing with ease) and a comfortably extended high-end makes this a definite fun listen. The only detraction in terms of how it presents sound would be the soundstage. I’m not a designer, but I feel that it couldn’t be helped much with the closed design – which also lends to just how impressive it is that the mids separate so well.
 
This is one of the few headphones I have come across that I can recommend for all genres of studio-recorded music. Live recordings could be heard on open cans, for the soundstage and the like, but a well-recorded studio track will come out and play just fine on the Meze 99 Classics. I don’t face trouble from older genres like classic rock any more than I do with electronic dance music. It just does it all so, so well for its price range.
 
Amping
 
Rated at 32 ohms, these headphones are not hard to drive at all. Meze themselves allude strongly to this because they provide the play/pause switch on the shorter cable for smartphones. I did however try them with my three amplifiers on hand to see what differences occurred. All were fed from my Schiit Gungnir USB Version 2 DAC.
 
2016-04-0917.33.19-Copy.jpg
 
Schiit Magni 2:
 
Simply made louder. The same effect can be reproduced by the volume knob on your portable player of choice.
 
2016-05-2812.09.11-Copy.jpg
 
Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon:
 
Sadly, the sensitivity of the Meze is such that I heard the first-run Liquid Carbon power issue – with a slight hum intruding on my listening. I did gauge that the sound was overall warmer, as expected from the amp.
 
20160611_140036.jpg
 
Venture Electronics RunAbout Plus:
 
Now this was impressive and the pairing I chose for listening to the Meze from now on. The portable RunAbout Plus does not emit much power on paper, but in practical usage it is a little powerhouse. Its signal has a tiny touch of warmth and sweetness to it, but it is overall quite articulate. It greatly aided the strengths of the Meze’s – particularly in the midrange and its stellar pairing with acoustic guitars.
 
The bottom line of this, to my knowledge, would be that it does not require amping, but it can benefit from it with the right pairing. Of course, as efficient volume can be easily achieved, you could obtain a magical sound signature with your DAP of choice as they all have their own characteristics that are brought to the table.
 
Comparisons
 
Bass Quantity: TH-X00 > Classic 99 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE400i > DT990 > HE-500 > HD600
 
Mids: HE-500 > HD600 > ZMF Omni > Classic 99 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > TH-X00 > DT990
 
Treble Quantity: DT990 > HE400i > TH-X00 > Classic 99 > HE-500 > HD600 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I
 
Soundstage: DT990 > HE-500 > ZMF Omni > HD600 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > Classic 99 > TH-X00
 
Comfort: DT990 > TH-X00 > HE400i > HD600 > ZMF Omni > Classic 99 > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE-500
 
Aesthetics: Classic 99 > TH-X00 > ZMF Omni > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > HE400i > DT990 > HE-500 > HD600
 
Lightness: Classic 99 > DT990 > TH-X00 > HD600 > HE400i > ZMF Vibro Mk. I > ZMF Omni > HE-500
 
Conclusion
 
There is no two-ways about it, colour me impressed by the Meze 99 Classics. Yes, the clamp and earpad warmth will take some getting used to, but the sound is very impressive for the pricerange in which it sits. Aesthetically, whether you love or hate how it looks, it is unique and that alone is something to be considered with just how many headphones are being designed and released every year as the audio industry blossoms and grows further.
 
I’m mostly about the sound quality however, and I respect this headphone most of all for how effortlessly it goes with my vast and diverse music collection. I would wear this on a flight and not miss my other headphones at all as a playlist continues on – each song being well served.
 
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Song Impressions
 
Equipment used: Foobar200 WASAPI Event > Schiit Wyrd > Schiit Gungnir USB Ver. 2 > Venture Electronics RunAbout Plus.
All tracks in lossless FLAC in at least 16/44.1
 
Aerosmith – Dream On (2012 Remaster)
 
The low end reminds me of when I listened to this song through the TH-X00, but with more lush and present mids and overall balance. While the soundstage is not as vast as the HE-500, there is no confusion in the instrumentation and overall sound structure.
 
a-ha – Take On Me
 
A punchy and immediate listen due to the low-end representation, but without losing the warmth and smoothness of the vocals or the delicate background acoustic guitar and cymbal patterns.
 
Nine Inch Nails – Closer
 
The Meze absolutely conveys the attitude of this song. The deep bass extension aids the heartbeat drum beat while the mids and highs accentuate the swirling synthesizers and cymbal loops. All the while, Trent Reznor’s tortured vocal takes centre stage. Great listen due to the Meze’s strengths.
 
Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan
 
Geezer Butler’s bassline drives this song but never intrudes into the vocals/mids. The pleasing mid-bass is at work here. The soundstage, while constricted, does reproduce the separated and panning instrumentation quite well – particularly the hand-struck drumming by Bill Ward.
 
Prince – Controversy
 
From the first hit, you know the Meze means business due to how this funky track’s bassline just digs deep and steady as the drums accompany it. As the clean-guitar work on the right track strums, quite clearly, you can clearly hear Prince’s vocal and the repeating voice going “OOMPH” in the beat.
 
Childish Gambino – Heartbeat
 
I always turn to this song when I want to test sub and mid-bass response. Compared to the TH-X00, which handled the sub-bass frequencies effortlessly and quite impressively, the Meze doesn’t dive as low but does a far better job with the rest of the frequencies. Also, the snare sounds a lot more immediate – with more body bouncing off the vocal as the song continues.
 
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
 
Once again, the Meze 99’s impress me with how they reproduce acoustic guitars. Couple that with the fact that the midrange brings forth the sultry vocal so well makes this a great listen. If I had to find a flaw, it would be that the backing vocal “this world is only gonna break your heart” is slightly less pronounced than on some other headphones like the Omni or the HE-500 – which are in different price categories. This is one of my favourite songs of all time, and I really appreciate what the Meze can do for it.
 
Clint Mansell – Lux Aeterna
 
The mids shine further on this track due to how well they manage to separate the different string tracks, an important and distinguishing feature because of how easily overlapped they can be on some headphones. The percussion has a lot of impact due to the bass impact, helped by the seal.
 
Coldplay – Clocks
 
While the soundstage is constricted, it is notable that this highly layered track maintains a good amount of separation in its presentation. The vocal absolutely soars, as it should.
 
Daichi Miura – Unlock
 
The TH-X00 reproduces the vocals in this song in a sibilant manner so I was glad to see that the Meze absolutely did not. The rest of the instrumentation is well served, only hampered due to the soaring and reverb-laden nature of the song and just how well it does with a large soundstage.
 
Eminem – Without Me
 
While the synth bassline doesn’t sound as incredible as on the TH-X00, the tradeoff is that the instrumentation is much more immediate and clear – especially the vocals/rap.
 
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
 
A song I re-visit with every new piece of gear and one I know as well as the back of my hand. While it is much more intimate than the Omni and the HE-500, the superb separation the Meze possesses aids greatly in the vocal harmonies of the chorus. The acoustic guitars and vocals sound warm and are well distinguished from the bassline.
 
Peter Gabriel - Flood & Mercy Street
 
I choose both these tracks because of how intricate the instrumentation is. The 99 Classics do really well with both, particularly in the shimmering cymbals/percussion of mercy street and the acoustic guitar in Flood. Coupled with just how nicely the vocal harmonies ring out in both, this is a great listen.
 
Metallica - For Whom the Bell Tolls (2016 Remastered)
 
The Meze properly represents the fire and brimstone production of this thunderous track. The drums hit hard and he guitars absolutely bite as they should, all while Cliff Burton's basswork is audible beneath it all. I'm especially impressed with how vibrant the cymbal crashes are in the mix.
Taowolf51
Taowolf51
@Aornic They used to not offer returns on opened headphones, but after looking on their site, this may have changed! Hopefully it did. :)
cyberslacker
cyberslacker
im tossed between the Meze and MH30, anybody did a side by side ?
in price/performance and both not needing an amp.
they are at the top of my list, for office listening.
pytter
pytter
Thanks for the great review! Hadn't actually heard of these before so will definitely be looking to audition!
Pros: Design, comfort, build, easy-to-drive & lovely sound.
Cons: Size/portability, microphonic cable, slight fit issue.
The 99 Classics have an eye-catchy refined style about them. I had the Walnut Gold finish, though I like the both the Walnut and maple silver finishes more.The premium cable looks wonderful and complements the headphone design. These are a "good size" headphone provided with a nice hard pouch. There are two sets of detachable cables provided one for more mobile/smartphone use and the other for at-home listening.The headphone does not have predetermined LR (though the cables are marked), so it could in principle be worn either way which is a cool design in my book. Meze has done a wonderful job on the build of this headphone and one can "feel" the sturdiness the moment you lay hands on it. The solid metal band, lovely polished wooden earcups, and well-set earpads all rounded up by a compartmental design (have a look at the teardown on their homepage) makes this a thing of beauty. The headphone design also ensures an almost completely serviceable product.
 
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The 99 Classics is a headphone that one cannot easily dislike - if that does not sound like a compliment, let me tell you that it is! The bass is catchy, pushed a bit forward and slightly loose or boomy (but I am of the opinion that's the "woody" character). Soundstage is very good for a closed headphone with appreciable dimensionality.Good treble presence with enough liveliness without getting into the "bright" territory.The mids are clean and clear and presented in a very neutral style (though I was expecting a mid-forward presentation). There are times when I felt that the bass got in the way of the music but these instances were far and few, sufficient to say that suitable source matching would make this headphone better but improper ones don't pull down the enjoyment factor much.Together, the presentation makes this a wonderful all-round headphone. On the go, the added bass warmth was very satisfying and complemented by the clean and clear mids and highs (this just made pop & electronic much more appealing). At home, the clarity provides a very engrossing listen.These headphones are driven well right out of my iPod Classic, Fiio X3 and my laptop. An entry level amp/DAC setup (say the Dragonfly) can only make things better by providing a cleaner source with more clarity - and they deserve it!
 
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The comfort on these are wonderful if the earpads are seated in circumaural fashion (which it did for most of my friends!) but in my case the earpads actually turned to be smaller, applying more pressure on the upper ear! That meant I would have to re-adjust them every now and then to minimize discomfort. During outdoor use, I found the size of the headphone and the fact that the earcups do not fold flat as issues hampering comfort. Considering the sound quality, I decided to carry the headphone in a backpack than leaving haging on around my neck. These were the niggles that affected my experience with the otherwise wonderful headphone.
 
The Meze 99 Classics are worthy of being considered as a good choice for the discerning music listener. They traverse the border of clarity and a fun sound very adept manner. Apart from the small complaints regarding comfort/fit I can heartily recommend them to everybody looking for a stylish, well built and good sounding headphone. My full review is available on my blog.
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
Pros: Bass Soundstage Value
Cons: Isolation

MEZE 99 CLASSIC
What beats beneath the elegance?

 
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It has been mentioned that a review has the potential for bias.
The headphones are sent to us for free evaluation for 7 days in return for an honest review on Headfi.
We ship them onwards at our own cost and for the majority of us we do not get to keep the headphones. Reviewers are doing this because they like listening to different headphones and writing about them.
As for the companies who are offering their product to the community for testing , I believe this is something to celebrate and to embrace. In my opinion , it gives the products offered up for review a positive start. From thereon all bets are off . The headphones sink or swim accordingly. Thankfully , all ears are different all headphones are different and all musical tastes are different. This is why we hope as reviewers you will find this as some benefit in your decision as to which headphone or headphones you choose to buy with your hard earned cash.
 
A tale of Trev and his tumultuous trip with the wooden marvel that is sure to be talked about until revision II hits the market.
Many months ago I was perusing the head fi threads and found the Meze page scouting for reviewers for a European Tour. The looks alone convinced me that these would be worth a listen so I put my name forward and luckily was chosen.
Finally my turn has come up. I can give you my findings based on a week with them.

 

Introduction
 

Meze are an up and coming Romanian company who did a kickstarter campaign for the 99 Classics. We can speculate as to why this was but I believe this phone is the first bespoke full size product they have made.  Their website is well presented and currently only 2 products are on sale, the 99 and an IEM. Clearly there are high hopes for this phone.
With thanks to Meze ,I have had the pleasure of listening to their sole over the ear headphone for a little over a week.
I hope I can give you a flavour of their sound signature and some insight into comfort, fit, looks, sensitivity and versatility.
The 99 Classics are the result of in house development and a successful Indiegogo campaign. I am not a fan of Indiegogo because of having to pay money up front for a product which may not have a working prototype. Meze, being an established company carry no such pitfalls and reached their investment goal in 2 days.
The 99 Classics are an over the ear design. They have chosen wood for their cup design in keeping with previous models. Meze believe that a wood design is timeless and they have built their headphones to last. The wood cups take 45 days of work before they are ready. They are highly polished and each cup is unique in the grain it has.
The cups and pads are relatively thin and of a medium width. They are a closed design. The drivers are close to the ear. My ears fit inside the cups but I do have small ears. Meze are looking at the design to see if larger cups ,thicker pads etc are feasible but for now let us look at what is real.

 

The Sound
 
 
The sound signature is a fun one, many reviewers seem agreed on this. I found the bass to be quite prominent without bleeding markedly into the mids and highs. There are advantages to this signature particularly with regard to tracks which are considered bass shy.
Modern tracks are not bass shy in my opinion. Even to the point of eqing some bass off hip hop /loudness wars type material, I have had more fun listening to other genres.
Classical music has a new lease of life with the 99. Without sacrificing the grandeur of the violins and piano and horn sections there is a pleasant background oomph that gives a nice body to the presentation. I would encourage any owners to send us their impression of Classical Music for good or for bad. For me I found it really lent something and had me searching for my favourite selections. For those who are not necessarily die hard classical fans but don't mind a few strings lending some depth to a song , please try Eve of the War by Jeff Wayne.


The extra bass lifts the track in my opinion.
There are many tracks out there that lend themselves to the Meze style of delivery - Gary Numan’s Replicas


 
sounds like a different recording for example.
The low end I would describe as somewhat slow in it’s decay possibly even a little flabby. This is not a criticism because I found it extremely pleasing on much of the music I listened to.

 
For all the bass weight here there are other redeeming factors for those seeking a refinement in their sound quality.  Put any track you like on - there is a clarity here that makes it’s way through the bass. I felt that the obvious characteristic of this clarity could be heard through the echo and separation of the instruments. The Meze headphones have got this right, certainly for the sound I look for in a headphone.
We have bass and we have clarity so in terms of a €300 headphone we have some very good plusses.
 
As a comparison I have a pair of Pendulumic Stance S1+ bluetooth closed phones .
 
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They retail at £174.99 or €221.56 , approximately 26% cheaper.
 
They are a neutral sounding headphone with what I’ve considered to be a competitive sound quality for this price brand. The Stance sounded relatively boring when pitted against the 99s.
Next up , the more expensive Mr Speakers Alpha Dogs, a closed full size with larger cups and larger pads.

DSC01749.jpg
 
A quote from a head announcement from Dan as of May 2016  -
“To celebrate the end of an era and thank our customers, especially the Head-Fi community for so much encouragement and support, we're holding a "Thank You" sale for our entire line of T50-based Mad Dog and Alpha headphones.  These will be the last we make, and once these Alpha and Mad Dog headphones are gone… “That's all folks!”
 
Mad Dog:  $299.99 now $269.99
Mad Dog Pro: $449.99 now $379.99
Alpha Dog: $599.99 now $499.99
Alpha Prime: $999.99 now $799.99
…which makes the Alpha Dogs €434 or 44% more expensive.


The Alpha Dogs sound more airy and refined than the Meze 99 Classics. The Meze Classics have more bass extension , far more, than the Alpha Dogs. The difference is not a subtle one.  The Dogs have an arguably more accurate , faster decaying low end response.  
 
How do the Meze Classics compare to similar priced IEM’s? The concept behind the full size and In Ear is entirely different but the results are the same - sound comes out. I had a set of Sony XBA4ips knocking about so I tested the 2 side by side.
Sony-XBA-4-400x300.jpg
 

The Sony ’s have 4 drivers each side - all balanced armature - 1 full range 1 tweeter 1 woofer and 1 super woofer.
They are now discontinued but are highly regarded in the In Ear world.

 
A pair can now be had for £199 or €252 - 16% cheaper than the Meze.
The Meze has better sound quality in my opinion. The bass is far bigger on the Classics, the sound is much richer and thicker , the sound stage is bigger and the clarity and separation beats the Sonys.

 

Sound Quality Conclusions
 
 

The Meze 99 Classics have a bassy, rich , thick , clear, wide sound signature. They can compete favourably with IEMs and closed headphones in the same price bracket and some will prefer the sound signature over closed headphones  costing significantly more.
Is the hump in the bass likely to become fatiguing over weeks , months and years? This is a question many may ask.  I feel a responsibility to addressing this issue , particularly as it seems I have recommended these headphones for classical recordings. Most people I know are using the classical genre as a means to relax ; to use a headphone that is screaming and punching rather than soothing and caressing is not really what we are looking for! The reason I am hoping the Meze won’t fatigue is because they are not just about bass ; they have lots of other qualities. Those qualities do not need lots of volume to become part of the signature , they are present at relatively low listening levels. I believe one of the key factors in listening fatigue stems from not only listening to artificially enhanced frequency ranges , it also comes from being forced to listen at a high volume to bring all of the dynamics of the music into the mix.

 
 

The Style
 
 
The unit I was sent was one of 3 models being sold.
The Walnut Classic Gold model - elegance with the wood cups, the 3 colour scheme and the size is understated. The understated has been achieved with the thinness of the pads the ear cups and the non solid dual rings supporting the headband.

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The Walnut Silver - for those who will love the walnut effect but may feel the gold as a darker colour may look perhaps a little too much. The silver offsets the darkness of the finish of the cups quite pleasantly in my opinion.
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The Maple Silver - a much more modern styling , much brighter and lighter in colour scheme of course. My favourite combination of traditional wood with advanced minimalism. Beautiful.
99-silver-product1_22_09_2015_15_53_53_0_570x720.jpg
 

The Fit
 
 The headphones fit my ears extremely well. I have small ears. The drivers are very close to my ears. I am certain this is giving the bass a lift. However, I have no feeling that there is a lack of upper range frequency loss due to the proximity. For this reason , I am wondering whether there would be an advantage with thicker pads. This may well over time lend more comfort to the listening experience for those with larger ears so if Meze manage to achieve the same sound quality with bigger pads then this is surely some research worth pursuing.
The headband has just the right amount of tension in it that the leather adjustment band rests easily around the top of the head ; no pulling clamps and adjustment bolts at the side of the headphone and everything is done in a second.
There is a degree of movement on the cups against the ears and there is a slight clamping effect.to This will maintain that proximity to the ears and help to generate the bass. It’s all about the bass!

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Sensitivity
 
The Meze Classics are loud enough to use on your phone and ask for no amplification. Below my Cubot H1
Cubot.H1.jpg
 
tested extensively with Deezer on numerous 320 kps tracks as well as some uploaded flacs. They respond to a cleaner crisper source and you will hear differences between a phone and a DAP.  I was fortunate to coincide this review with a loan from HiFiHeadphones of the Audio Opus 1 Digital Audio Player.
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I loved the sound of this player hooked up to the Meze headphones. They performed extremely well together and in fact the vast majority of my testing was done sat in a comfortable chair as close to the outside as the weather would allow.
On some days , this was directly outside in sweltering heat with only my music and a chilled pint or two of beer to comfort me. I have no hesitation in recommending this as ideal listening conditions. The writing was done when it was raining and the listening was done when the sun was shining.

Tequila-Sunrise.jpg
 
 
The correct way round I’m sure you’ll agree.

In the spirit of researching this article , I decided to see what difference, if any , adding the Chord Mojo Dac/Amp par excellence to the stack would make.
eabd6-Image.jpg
 
Attaching the optical out cable from the Opus 1 to the Mojo the Classics were put into 1 of the 2 headphone outs of the Mojo. To my surprise , I did not like the output from the Mojo. The Meze Classics sounded better direct from the Opus 1! Amezing!
The sound thickened up using the Mojo, it sounded like the Meze were being pushed too hard.  This makes life much easier in my opinion. ……or does it? Much experimentation can be done with sources for the Classics; some will make the Meze sound too bassy some will hit that sweet spot. Many of the cheaper sources are bass light that I have heard; the Colorfly C3 for example may be a good bet.

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Lovely looking very small not particularly powerful or great storage or UI but sounded lovely with the Classics. And pretty cheap…
 
 
Isolation
 
 
The Meze 99s have average isolation. At moderate listening levels in a quiet environment none of the outside world gets in.  With the TV on sat beside your loved one there will be an issue.
The headphones don’t bleed so they can’t be heard by anyone else whilst they are being worn. The thinness of the pads and cups leads to some outside noise getting in. Whether people consider the Meze suitable for out and about  is a moot point ; there is an advantage to a headphone with some isolation but not overmuch. Some traffic noise can be considered  necessary for safety.

The finish of these may lead people to consider them for indoor
Versatility use only.  Maze however have supplied 2 leads - 1 is a 3 metre cable for indoor listening ,the 2nd much shorter with an inline mic for hands free phone calls.

99-classics-accessories.jpg
 

Out and about use is further enhanced by the large carry case provided.
99-classics-design.jpg
 
 

 The phones do not fold flat so the case is too large for pockets but will fit in a backpack for  commuter  / tourist use.
I would strongly recommend when not being worn and carried around that the headphones stay in their case. God forbid that they might be dropped on their cups and get scraped on the pavement.
Oh hang on……

 
 
The Company
 
 
 The next part of the story is a tale of disaster! Yes, even reviewers get clumsy sometimes. For reasons unknown to me I ended carrying the Meze 99s into work from my vehicle in a velour bag. I was that confident they couldn’t possibly be dropped by me ; I am far too careful for such things.  Suffice it to say , I tripped on a crack in the pavement that didn’t exist, stopped myself from falling by means of a double fast trot on the spot and a good bit of windmilling and grabbing at air, and something had to give. The Meze 99 Classics did just that. They came out of my hands which were too busy flailing around to save them from hitting the ground! To my horror I noticed I had created some small chips on both wooden cups! This is both a testimony to the Meze’s strength (they didn’t crack right down the middle or on any of the seams-there aren’t any) and the fragility of the veneer finish.  
Had the same happened to any set of headphones I am sure the result would have been similar. In short, please look after them!
I immediately contacted Meze and offered to pay for them in full.  To their credit Meze sent me a prompt reply stating accidents happen , the headphones were repairable and there would be no question of me buying these headphones.
Bear in mind that all parts of Meze 99 Classics are replaceable.

99-classics-fully-serviceable1.jpg
 
No glue is used. I have a pair of AKG K1000s , built to last , looking as good as the day they were made. Apart from they are struggling with  subbass on the right driver. I believe the reason to be that the glue has deteriorated over the course of the 20+ years since they were made. Not an impossible task to remedy by any means , but a long discontinued phone of this sort of value means either an expensive specialist repair or an unenviable DIY repair. All this for a pinprick hole in a bead of glue. Maze have sensibly avoided this pitfall . No glue is used, everything can be unscrewed.  Another consumer friendly aspect to these phones.
 

Conclusions
 
 
The Meze 99 Classics have a distinctive rich sound. They add bass to tracks , some will benefit from this , some will not . There is much more to these headphones sound than bass. Due to the combination of all these things, I would recommend them for classical music and bass shy music. I had a great deal of fun listening to all my favourite tracks and genres of music with them.
There are 3 distinctive styles, hopefully there is a style available for everyones taste.
The headphones can be used outdoors as well as indoors and go very loud even from a smartphone. Isolation is not in the top tier - tube rides and busy roads may lend themselves to a different headphone. If you do use them outside be careful. If you can’t be careful, don’t worry! They’ll fix them for you.
Meze have a winner on their hands with the Meze 99 Classics. They are fun sound with some serious styling and are built to last.

FortisFlyer75
FortisFlyer75
Very enjoyable read and to the point with nice smattering of humor ; )
 
(I long to hear these again and have missed the Classic's sound sig.)
Takeanidea
Takeanidea
@Bansaku thanks for your observations - that's exactly what we needed to hear
@FortisFlyer75 thanks for the kind comment
glassmonkey
glassmonkey
Nice review! I totally agree with using a leaner source on these. Love the Meghan Trainor gif!
 
Here's a cover of All About That Bass with some actual bass for all the fans of Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix.
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. 
 
IMG_4014.jpg
 
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.
 
IMG_4019.jpg
 
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.
 

Pros: Premium look and feel, easy to drive, sound great for portable use, fair price
Cons: Bass could be both deeper and tighter, not something I would use as desktop headphone replacement

*I am reviewing the Meze 99 Classics as a condition of the recent tour conducted by the fine folks at Meze. The following is simply my honest impressions.

Introduction and Initial Observations

First, a little bit about this headphone. The 99 Classics are marketed as a headphone built from the ground up with an aim at those looking for both high quality, neutral sound and high-end looks in one package. There are a few things I'd like to add to this, now having seen, touched, and heard the headphones myself--these promises are definitely delivered upon in my experience. I was impressed that the headphones use real wood and metal, with very little to no plastic being used at all. Further, I find the headphones to be quite attractively designed, though this will come down to personal preference.  Despite this, the headphone remains quite light and ideal for listening on the go.  My only qualm with the build quality of the headphones is that I would rather they cost about $40-50 more and come with lambskin earpads instead of the cheap feeling pleather ones that come with it at present.
 

Equipment Used

JRiver Media Center (FLAC files)→Aune T1 (with various tubes)
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
 
-Nothing fancy here, really. But, fortunately, the 99 Classics don't need anything fancy to sound great.
 

How Do They Sound?

I really liked listening to the 99 Classics. They have a lively, energetic sound, yet have a touch of warmth to them. The highs are clear, but not sharp. The mids are fairly intimate and bass has a pleasant fullness to it. The way these are tuned actually reminds quite a bit of a "smaller sounding" ZMF Omni. The Omni has deeper bass, more detail, larger soundstage, more depth, and better imaging BUT if you were to kind of take the core essence of that warmish, intimate, and yet detailed sound of the Omni and shrink it into a portable headphone, I think it would look a lot like the 99 Classics. Some more points on the 99 Classics:
 
  1. Extremely easy to drive.
  2. Sounded equally nice out of the T1 and my phone. I would be totally content using these portably with nothing but a phone or mp3 player. To emphasize: no dedicated amp needed.
  3. They are very light on head. Not the most comfortable headphone ever, but quite good still. I actually had this weird issue where the headband would pinch my hair and pull it when I removed the headphones. Despite this, I actually like the headband design.
  4. These lean warm and are energetic sounding. Treble-heads need not apply. Also, I'd say bassheads will be disappointed. However, those who like a lively sound that isn't overemphasized in any one area, you will probably dig the 99 Classics a lot.
  5. Many people have complained that the earpads are too small. I agree to an extent, and think the pads would be better if just a bit bigger, but I am overall OK with the way the pads are at present. One really cool thing is that Meze has taken this feedback into account and accordingly have made larger earpads available.
 

Final Notes

I haven't listened to a ton of portable headphones, but I like the 99 Classics more than all the ones I've heard. This included the NAD Viso HP50, Audioquest Nighthawk, Sennheiser Momentum, and Oppo PM-1 (cost is a factore here). When I decide to get a set of portables, it will almost certainly be the 99 Classics.
joeq70
joeq70
@cyberslacker I would say that they are generally well built and definitely able to be used out an about, but they shouldn't be treated carelessly. I don't think they'd take well to being sat on. If I were going to go about town with them, I would keep then on my head/around my neck and then place them inside the carrying case that comes with them before placing them in a backpack or something like that.
Philimon
Philimon
"... great for portable use ..."? If you like stares and snickers.
pinoyman
pinoyman
thanks for the review. i really like to buy one of these, specially the color white one. :)
it looks clean to me.
Pros: Easily driven of a smartphone, very portable, fun sounding, airy, some stronger base withoit a V shape sounding
Cons: Microphone effect, imo not for home use
Welcome everybody to my review. It is a first one for me - so please take it easy, have a beer or two, popcorn handy and have fun reading. I don't mind if Yous will slap me for that what You'll read - but it is what I think.
 
I would like to thank you Meze Team for letting me testing these cans for a little bit longer than usually as I have a quite limited time for tunes in my every day life. And as a disclaimer I would like to mention that this review is genuinely what I think and what I hear.
 
 
Shortcut:

Meze produces some big big sound - being such a light and quite little cans - they can even massage ears. All the frequencies are well pronounced, I didn't hear any V shape sounding listening them - but there is some stronger base in them. The base gives a really fun drive - but it never goes too far into other frequencies. Mids - and so vocals are rather forward and well present in tunes.I had no issues whatsoever with the high tones - they are airy - even very airy, well separated and not stingy at all. On the HTC M9 everything was coherent I wasn't missing anything in the sound.
 
 
The Unimportant
 
You can skip that to the part below immediately.
My audio background. As a quite non-existent headfier I'll let to describe myself. I'm in audio world about six years now, started with the help of other much more experienced audio hardcore maniac - ave Adivxv!- getting Xonar STX (and later on a few sets of decent opamps)and ATH-A700X + DT770 PRO 250Ohm - so my start was with not too bassy sounding with quite good soundstaging.  The soundstaing - and other aspects connected with - happen to be my thing in sound. And so it started. Today and for the sake of the tests I had been using as follow:
Aune S16, Yulong D200 as source/amp combos
Yulong A28 as Amp
Ultraviolet 7 and some cheap interconnectors, and power conditioning plug
And the most important - HTC M9 phone
Nothing super special as you can see.
The rivals for the Meze Classic99 were:
Philips Fidelio X2 (big thanks to Mr Pepis!)
Audio Technica ATH-AD700X ATH-A700X
Ultrasone PRO900 and HFI-780
AKG K550

The last thing I would like to mention is that I've never read any review about the Meze cans. Yes, You may not believe in it - I don't mind - but I retained not to read anything online or anywhere else - first because my time is quite limited, and later on when I knew I will receive them for testing I wanted to have a clear mind of the other reviewers thoughts. What else I am a person who is hype resistant - so I take everything rather cold. Okay enough mumbling. So let's get to the point:
 

The somewhat important

Somewhat important to me reviewing the headphones is the other things which comes along with them apart of the sound. The cans - when I got the parcel from FortisFlyer75 - they came immaculate, looking as a new and untouched, so the impression was like buying a new cans. First thoughts very positive. The build quality - nothing to grip. Feels like a luxury product. The feel and the look just spot on. The wood very nice in touch. The pads rather shallow, but very soft and super nice in touch. The two different length "wires" are like a shoe lace covered in a cloth (similar to the ATH-A700X cable) which of my preference is the best cable to live with. They're soft as well. One is with the microphone - which I've tested as well using HTC M9 - loud and clear both ways, no issues at all. There is some extras as well in the box - but that probably everybody knows anywhere. So the package is complete - which I think is a good thing and nicely thought by the producer.
The only bad thing is the microphone effect when the metal band is touched by anything. There is a minor microphone effect of the cables - but really minor- and disappearing when music plays even at low volume. The headband adjusts itself - I have quite a big potato head - and had no problems with the comfort at all.
The comfort - as I mention the pads are very soft. The cans aren't big at all. From all the cans I own they're the smallest ones - I was a little bit suprised bu the size of the cups - my ears just just fit in - they don't seat on the ears - but I wouldn't call them totally over the ear. The closest cans I know well comfortwise are the HFI-780 - which are less comfy than the Meze.
The circumstances I most of the time listen the music - is mostly the night time when I'm off - so I put a playlist on, lay back relaxed in bed and totally spacing myself out - I'll mention about that later on - but the comfortwise Meze during such a sessions were less comfy than the big cans (X2, AD700x, A700X or DT150 - but these are bigger full cans, so really there is no wonder..) - and I had to be careful not to cause the microphone effect of the headband - so they wouldn't be my first choice for these kind of night sessions.
The look - furthermore it is worth to mention about the look - but from the other, not a quality side - but the look as a fassion thing (or such, you know what I mean). I was taking Meze with me to the public places - parks, cafe places and such - and I can report that the people were looking at them - in my opinion they would fit to the person wearing smart or formal clothes - shirts, ties and such - it is just a classy look. I personally don't give a duck how do I look like in the headphones when I'm out and about - as I am taking out with me HFI-780, K550 or even A700X - but none of them look classy at all. Meze are.
 
 
And the important - the sound
 
Now the only really important bet of the review. First impressions - when I got them it just happened I was listening some tunes on D200+ OTG cable+ USB Audio Player Pro and A700X. First impressions were quite sour - as I just simply preferred A700X over the Meze. Why? What I'm after the sound is the soundstaging - as wider, as deeper as more holographic - then better. A700X were producing to my taste better soundstage. So the first impressions were a little bit disappointing. Later on on next occasion I teamed them up with all my equipment and X2, AD700X, DT150 - and each time I wasn't so impressed with the Meze. The X2 weren't mine and they had to go back to the owner (thanks again Pepis!) so I had feelings that I am wasting time with Meze - cause I knew I had to review them. I know You must be boiling here by now - I know that. X2 are semi opened AD700X are opened, A700X is a soundstaging wide killer at the price point - well all of my cans are super spatial - the Meze were not. Than - than I had an idea to plug them to HTC M9 and take them with me going out. And from then on the magic started. What is my opinion (I may be here a captain obvious - but honestly I didn't read a word about them at all) these cans are ment for on the go use. Than longer I had been using them with the phone the more I liked them - hmm I loved them from the first tune - and It just was progressing till the last day. The are like K550 (not sounding like for a record) - the similarity is that  they play so good of a phone it is quite impressive. Really the worse source the better sounding (metaphor). After I undiscovered that - I didn't plug them into the stationary machinery at all - and I've been listening all the time of my phone.
 
 
Sounding:

If it is about the soundstaging presentation - It is all there. The show is rather happening inside the head deeper than wider- but everything is well separated and with some good imagining. Well made tracks were taking me "there" with ease.
Meze produces some big big sound - being such a light and quite little cans - they can even massage ears. All the frequencies are well pronounced, I didn't hear any V shape sounding listening them - but there is some stronger base in them. The base gives a really fun drive - but it never goes too far into other frequencies. Mids - and so vocals are rather forward and well present in tunes.I had no issues whatsoever with the high tones - they are airy - even very airy, well separated and not stingy at all. On the HTC M9 everything was coherent I wasn't missing anything in the sound.
Sitting in a cafe or any other place I was totally chewed in the tunes every time I was listening anything - and the repertuar was spread in between the edm, pop, rock, and some other random music - even Rihana tracks hehe. Every time wow effect on.
During relaxing home sessions in my bed - I also was chewed in the tracks. I started liking the soundstaging more and more - and the drive of the base - It is really pleasant and interesting. It may not be going down like in PRO900 (but that I will mention next).
Overall - my opinion (again I'm most likely a Captain Obvious) the Meze are ment to be a headphones to take them outdoors, for a journey, for a delegation, wherever when we can't take our gear. There is no need for them to pair them with any audiophile stuff - they fly of the phone.The sound doesn't scale with stationary amps and DACs - but they are so good without it... Other cans are better in other ways - Meze to my ears are very musical - more musical than spatial, they give tons of fun listening to basically anything I was listening to - they make me want to listen more and more - yes, they can be fatiguing - but such is a fun listening.
 
 
Final thoughts:

I can totally recommend the Meze cans - but only, only for a portable, on the go cans. They got all the attributes needed.
I can totally recommend them as well for the people without any home audio gear. Since they really shine just plugged to the smarphone - there is no need for anything else.
Since they look classy - I think it could be a good material for a gift to anybody.
For a sit at home - stationary gear - I would never use them - cause other cans do that better.
 
 
Thanks for reading!
Peter
kosq83
kosq83
Thanks Guys for good words!
FortisFlyer75
Yes, Classics scale higher with better gear - but to me they are left behind if it is about the soundstaging - but considering the cans whey had to rival with - I am not supprised at all. I would get them purely for their tonality :)
Villy
I did my best to produce an honest one - that was the point Mate :)
FortisFlyer75
FortisFlyer75
No one can deny it was an honest one bud, that's what I liked about it.

Soundstage, I've heard better with closed backs but at same time have heard worse, ie. like my Sony 7520's but I still love them!

Yes tonality is what melts the heart with these I guess which is something to a lot with those lovely wooden cups : )
reddog
reddog
A good, informative review.
Pros: Excellent build; Energetic Sound; Good detail and staging
Cons: Cups are too small and non-removeable; Floppy Bass; A bit grainy in upper-mids
Disclaimer: The Meze 99 Classics were send to me as part of their European Tour. Impression are based on around a week of intensive usage.

Preamble:

First of all, welcome to another review here on Head-Fi.org.
My name is Noel aka. FUYU, I'm 19 years old and a avid lover for everything technical.
While everything is subjective, I like to explain in more rational enclosure with graphs and technical prowess.
I care about facts and only facts, meaning no fancy 300$ cables and value by price-to perfomance.

Headphones, my old love. When I first started my Head-Fi journey, I was a avid fan and modder of the legendary T50rp, which at the time was my first "audiophile" purchase I've ever done.
And still at this day and time, my ZMF modded T50rp remains the only headphone in a rather small collection of audiophile products. Later on, my interests shifted to the world of IEM's.
Headphones never seemed to suit me: Either they were not comfortable enough as I have a rather large head or just not my cup of tea sound-wise.
However years later, a fine looking mix of brown and gold (actually the brown and silver version) sparked my interest once again.

Enter Meze 99 Classics

The Offical Meze 99 Thread:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/794593/meze-99-classics-discussion-impressions-thread


Specifications:

> Transducer Type: Neodymium Dynamic
> 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; straight plug
> Variants: Walnut Gold, Walnut Silver, Marple Silver
> Weight: 290g
> MSRP: $309

99-classics-lifestyle5.jpg


Build and fit:

Overall build is excellent. Construction has been done marvelously. The Meze 99 is build solely with high-quality materials. No plastic involved.
Joints and construction are of high-caliber and as these are tour-units, possible longgevity-issues are highly unlikely to occur.
The Meze 99 utilises an auto-adjusting headband, which works flawlessly. There is no wooble even on my head as these headphone remain flush on my head, at any time.
While I'm a fan of industrial designs, the wooden cups and the metal construction are very well done. Only the ringing of the metal is slightly annoying, which happend quite often when touching the top of
doorframes for example. (I'm 1.92m/6'4'')
My biggest complaint with the Meze Headphones are the rather shallow cups, which cause discomfort after only a short period of time. It's unfortunate that you cannot change earcups on these,
possibly improving comfort and isolation in the process.

99-classics-problems-solutions3.jpg
Not suited for those with jumbo-ears.


Accesories:

Acessories are plenty. You get a nice hard-case for transportation, a 3.5mm (1/8'') to 5.3mm (1/4'') adaptor, a airline-adapter, one 3m cable and a 1.2m cable with integrated microphone for mobile usage.
The cables are braided and as such have moderate microphonics.

Pairing:

The Meze 99 are generally easy to drive. As always, improving your audiochain will also improve your listening-experience. However these are absolutly fine out of any smartphone or DAP and require no
extra amping. I recommend a neutral source, as these headphones are more coloured.

Overall sound:

99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg


Overall sound is a fun and musical signature with emphasis on bass and an overall warm tonality:

> Bass:
The Bass is by far the most apparent of all the frequencies. It features a prominent bass-line consisting mostly of mid-bass around the 100-500hz area. Sub-Bass is also a slightly elevated, however lacking in comparision to the in my opinion slightly too loose mid-bass. In terms of quality the Classics are no slouch. Decay is almost always at it right place and feels really well implemented in the rest of the sound
spectrum.

> Mids:
At first listening I was quite suprised. I expected the mids to be in typical V-shaped fashion we're used on seeing. This is not the case. The mids are quite well done, with a emphasis in the lower mids and some in the upper mid area giving the Classics a dynamic and engaging sound-signature. Detail is very good, however slightly grainy and somewhat slibilant in the upper mids. (Although I'm quite sensitive in that area)

>Treble:
One of the best aspects of the romanian headphone. While it doesn't extend infintely, it does have decent extention. The treble is slightly smoothed off to not offend anyone. A good trade-off as lots of detail is still eminent.

>Soundstage:
If there is a aspect of the 99 Classics I'd like to congratulate the folks over at Meze for, it would be soundstage and seperation. Really well done. It came as a big suprise to me, as these are closed headphones.
It has great size in all three dimentions and at the same time remains crisp and with good "blackness" between instruments.

>Overall thoughts:
These are probably not the right bet for those seeking neutrality on the GO. However they spark a signature and smoothness almost anyone can enjoy. Thumbs up!

Final Words:

I'm quite suprised. Before receiving the Meze 99 Classics I was sceptical. Can a butic looking headphone move me away from IEMs? No, not quite. Still I enjoyed the Meze alot.
But that doesn't mean it's bad in any way. In reality, the opposite is the case. If Meze can fix some of the small issues, primarily the one's in the confort department I would definitly see myself
buying a pair or two. If you're looking for a fun and warm sounding headphone with lots of detail, look no further. The Meze 99 Classics combines style and sound unlike few headphones in it's class.
reddog
reddog
A good, concise, informative review.
Pros: Highly musical. Comfortable. Great staging for a closed can. Non-fatiguing
Cons: Bass can be a tad "loose" at times.
Thanks to Meze for allowing me to spend a week with these gorgeous headphones; it was a great listen!! And my apologies for taking a year to get something published regarding my impressions but suffice it to say, it's been a busy past few months for me.
 
Considering the virtual inundation of Head-fi.org with one Meze 99 Classic review after another for the past couple months (seriously, I think there were like three different reviews featured on the entry page here at one time, LOL) ... I'm not going to be writing the longest bit of commentary on these as my comments/thoughts pretty much echo any and all that have already been written.
 
 
Introductions
 
I haven't been too big a fan of closed back headphones since first trying a pair of open backed headphones some 12 years ago or so; I've owned a couple different pair of closed back headphones over the years ... a pair of Shure SRH840's which I loved for their neutrality but ultimately became bored with and a pair of JVC Victor DX1000's ... which I could never figure out in regards to sound but which I thought were really pretty. I ended up selling both. Since then, I haven't forayed much more in to the world of closed back headphones as I've just had no need.
 
But among the few closed back headphones that I've spent time with? Compared to the Shure SRH840 and the JVC DX1000?  Had I my choice?  I would keep the Meze 99 Classics in a heart beat, if only for the fact that they sound more "real" and musical than both the JVC and Shure while also not breaking the bank (like the JVC DX1000's).
 
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Listening impressions
 
All that considered, the first thing that struck me about the Meze 99 Classics was the sound stage ... well, more accurately, I was first taken with the fact that the sound was very detailed, unveiled and rich while also being 100% non-fatiguing (fatigue is the enemy as far as I'm concerned) ... and then I was taken with the sound stage; so much so that I had to take them off to see if there was venting or otherwise ports built into the cups but no ... completely closed. Seriously good sound stage for a completely closed cup headphone.\
 
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Secondly, and perhaps the defining quality of this bit of gear is that they are insanely good "all around" listeners, not really sounding bad with anything I could throw at them: the high frequencies are plenty detailed while never sounding strident or exaggerated, the mids are dialed right about where I like them ... prominently in the middle, that is, and are neither what I would call forward or recessed. And the bass is deep and prominent while, for the most part sounding quite nice and balanced at moderate listening levels. I do consider the bass a bit forward and to my ear, it does at times impinge on the performance of the mid and high frequencies, at times taking on a bit of a "fluffy" tone or what one might call slightly "woolen" ... if there were any room for improvement at this price point and with the intentions of the headphone in so far as delivering, I would say a slight tightening up of the bass as well as backing it off a bit in the overall mix might be welcome but that's just my obviously subjective stance on things.
 
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I would not consider the Meze 99 Classic to be what one might consider a seriously analytic headphone; I don't think it will appeal to person's looking for a "reference" headset unless your reference point is simple musicality, smooth sound and an easy listen. In other words, there is a great distance sonically between the Meze 99's and say, the Sennheiser HD800 or Grado PS1000's or any of the mid to high end Stax cans ... these latter headphones, admittedly being what one could call Detail Monsters(tm) when compared with the more relaxed listen that the Meze 99's provide. That being said, I don't believe this is what the Meze's intend to be (reference class audiophile headphones) ...
 
But for the money and considering the build quality and general all around good sound, I don't think you can go wrong with the Meze 99's; especially if you hang them out where others can see them because the other fine qualities of the headphone not withstanding, they are really beautiful to look at.
 
Comfort wise I find them excellent although, truth be told, I prefer a fully circumaural headset that fully encompasses my ear. The Meze 99's, much like the Grado RS1's, will rest smack dab on the flesh of your ear and some may find this more or less comfortable depending on individual sensitivities. The pads on the Meze 99's are very sumptuous however (unlike the scratchy Grado pads) and for me, are far more comfortable than say, the RS1's.
 
 
Concluding
 
All together I find the Meze 99 Classics to be a highly enjoyable headphone. The build quality is solid and they are visually quite beautiful. They are an excellent all around listen and work great with all genres of music. They are highly detailed while not being clinical or analytic; they are not fatiguing in the least but do represent the slightest bit of "bloat" in the bass region and this will at times and via a careful listen, bleed in to the other frequency regions. They have unusually good sound staging for a closed back headphone and in that regard, are some of the more enjoyable closed back cans I've listened too.
 
Thanks again for the opportunity to demo!
 
 
jinxy245
jinxy245
Nicely done...a good review...your conclusion sums it up perfectly...I miss these cans!
reddog
reddog
A sweet review sir, with good pictures and informative impressions.
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