Meze Audio 99 Classics - Reviews
Pros: Bass, impact, fun sound signature, great build quality.
Cons: Vocals a bit recessed, small earcups, microphonic cable.
I got to listen to these for a couple weeks as part of the USA tour, with the requirement that I write a review and pay to ship them to the next participant. I am not affiliated with, and was not compensated by Meze in any other way.
 

Design

The physical design is probably the best part about these headphones. Not to say that the sound is bad (we'll get to that later, but in short, it isn't), but the design and build quality is the standout feature of these. Everything is put together very well, the real wood looks quite classy, nothing creaks, and it's all very pleasant to the touch. The auto-adjusting mechanism works well, and I had no real difficulty in getting a good, comfortable fit.
 
While the overall physical design is excellent, there are a few things I feel are worth talking about. First is that the cloth-covered cables (two are included, one with and one without inline controls), while very nice and durable seeming, are fairly microphonic.
 
The second point may just be me, but as far as I was able to tell, there are no Left / Right markings on the headphones themselves. The ends of the detachable cable are clearly marked L and R, but the cans themselves are not. I suppose that means that they are symmetrical front-to-back and it doesn't matter which direction you have them facing, but it still seems like an odd omission.
 
Third, and probably most important, is the size of the earcups, which are fairly small. They do go around my ears, but my ears are then touching the inside of the cups. One thing I was surprised about was how comfortable they are even with the smaller cups. Having my ears touch would typically bother me, but I found that I was able to wear these all day at work with little discomfort. I'm actually not entirely sure why, as the earpads are not super thick or anything, but they are nicely padded. So, in short, the earcups and pads are fairly small, but I found it bothered me a lot less than it usually does, and I actually found them surprisingly comfortable.
 

Sound

I am not a basshead, but to me these sound like what I would want a bass-heavy set of cans to sound like. If you're a hardcore basshead I can't make any guarantees that these will satisfy your craving for bass, but for me they had a tastefully-elevated amount of bass and impact that made these quite fun to listen to without completely drowning out the other frequencies. Vocals are a little overshadowed by the bass, but overall the 99 Classics still have a good amount of clarity and I don't feel like I'm sacrificing any real amount of detail to get the enhanced bass. If anything it's just fairly obvious that vocals are at a lower level than the bass that precedes them.
 
When listening to some piano recordings, I do think that this (and acoustic music in general) are a slight weakness. I do want to emphasize slight though, as if I hadn't been switching between my various headphones at the time I doubt I would have had any real issue with the 99 Classics and piano. But compared to my other cans, piano sounds a bit boxed in and artificial, as in it's easier to tell that you're listening to a recording of a piano on closed cans, and it'd be unlikely to fool you into thinking that you were in a room with a piano. The 99 Classics seem to be missing the very leading edge of notes; I wouldn't necessarily call it slow-sounding, but the very leading percussive edge of piano notes or percussion just isn't as sharp and immediate as I've heard on other cans.
 
Soundstage is also a relative weakness, they certainly sound like closed cans.
 

Comparison

I primarily listen to open cans, and have for the most part managed to keep myself to a single pair of closed cans at any one time. My current preferred reasonably-priced set of closed cans is the Shure SRH-840, which I've owned for years at this point. Certainly not the best I've heard, but with how infrequently I listen to closed cans, they've been a good price/performance tradeoff.
 
Compared to the 99 Classics, the Shures have clearer and better highs, resulting in them sounding more open than the Meze cans. The 99 Classics, however, do low bass much better, and are what I'd consider a more "fun" set of cans. The Classics are also much better built, and are the obvious choice if you're looking for something portable. Since I personally only use my closed cans at home if I need sound isolation (rare), the Shures still make the most sense for my use case.
 

Conclusion

The Meze 99 Classics are a very well-built handsome set of cans that delivery a very pleasant, bass-elevated sound that is easy to listen to and non-fatiguing. It comes with a nice hard case and multiple cables, and would make an excellent portable headphone for anyone looking for their sound signature. They are also very sensitive, working well out of cell phones and portable players.
 
Soundstage and treble are both (minor) weaknesses, but for on-the-go listening, I believe they have clearly focused on what matters the most for their intended audience.
jinxy245
jinxy245
I thought you articulated it well...I find it very challenging to write audio reviews. How do you take something as intricate & nuanced as sound (& music) & translate it into words...it's bound to be confusing. Gush too much & you sound like a tool, and it's also easy to sound too critical. Overall a good job...thanks!
Defiant00
Defiant00
Thanks for the kind words, it is indeed a tricky balance :)
warubozu
warubozu
Thanks for the review, may look into getting a pair in the future
Pros: Build, Design, Warm yet clear exciting natural detailed sound with plenty of bass, case and accessories. Price
Cons: Cable tangles to easily, could do with a shorter option without playback control, Micro phonics on cable. Pads tend to get warm to hot over time

Meze 99 Classics (Gold) review

April 2016
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Sources used:

Sony ZX1 Walkman, HP X360 Spectre with MS Win 10 laptop, Tag Mclaren DVD32R cd player.
 

Amp & Dacs used:

Chord Hugo & Mojo with QED Reference & Vertere DFI USB cables & Audioquest “jitterbug”,
 Vorzuge PureII+ portable amplifier with Whiplash Hybrid V3 LOD
 

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
Ear-cups
Walnut wood

For more insight and info please visit here>>> Meze - 99 Classics
 
The review model is Walnut with Gold finish.  
2 other finish versions available: Walnut & Silver / Maple wood finish with silver.
 

My Meze story…

 
It all started for me when I was browsing Head-fi as usual a few months back and noticed the banner on the side of the page and noticed a uniquely different striking looking pair of headphones I had not seen before to the norm with the lovely wooden cup and gold accented metal which is cast zinc had me intrigued and thinking to myself these must be a £1K headphone just by the just on looks alone so headed on over to their website to have a look and was surprised to see the price was only 309 Euros.
 
I thought nothing of it after that hoping one day I might get to listen to these at a show or I bumped into another Head-fier who might own them to have a listen then I noticed the Meze tour and thought to myself I could not turn down the chance to listen to these for seven days and here is where I have to say thanks to Meze for letting me listen to these 99 Classics in the bliss of my own home for several days so finally my turn has arrived to have these unique looking beautiful headphones, but do they sound as good as they look?
Before I start on the sound of these without too much teasing I will firstly start from the beginning with the Ergonomics and design….
 

Ergonomics & Design

(Please scroll down to “99 Classic sounds” for review on how they sound)
 
Firstly you are presented with a nice sturdy high finish printed box with which opens up like a book to reveal the EVA moulded hard case for storage & travel which protects the 99 Classics. This case is the start of the eye to detail that you see Meze apply to the headphones with the case been contoured as low profile as possible so the case is relatively bulk free for when in transportation anywhere. It has a double zipped entry and a nice loop hook for hanging the case. 
 
Once open you will find the Meze sitting there in the velour glove like protection of the EVA moulded hard case with the cables and accessories stored in a clever round soft case which has zip up closure.  I wish more headphone company’s had this rather common sense approach with eye to detail with thought given to how best to store the cables and plugs and the accessory case sits nicely in the gap between the headband and ear cups. 
 
In the accessories bag they have supplied two cables, both copper OFC Kevlar cable one with a shorter run which has a remote/microphone cable for use with both Android and Apple phones as well as any other dap that has a 3.5 jack is 1.2 Metre in length and and has play/ stop button which doubles up as next and previous track and phone / end call buttons.
 
The other cable is a generous 3 Metre length for use at home and then they complete the accessories set with a Gold plated 6.3mm jack adaptor plug and Aeroplane adaptor plug. The Headphone drivers are symmetrical which means the left and right is in the headphone is determined by the L & R marked 3.5 mono jack plugs which are easy to hook up for listening.
 
Also the left hand cable jack input has a raised ridge to differentiate it from the right cable so can be identified without having to look for the marked L & R symbols which is another simple yet nice touch.
The Classic headphones are light to hold in the hand and are not big as conventional full size headphones making these ideal for travelling especially been closed back headphones although I know for hardcore commuters there is no foldable design or swivel on the cups to make them more compact for storage when travelling which for me would take away from the overall design and implementation of the build on these headphones.
 
First thing I noticed was how light they feel on the head and this is helped I think by the way the headband is also designed with a simple yet clever and effective way the adjustment works. The PU leather headband is fairly thick and nice soft and supple which contributes to the non-fatiguing fit for listening sessions.
It’s the least fiddling I’ve had to do with headbands for quite a while which becomes bit of a god send, like I say it is the eye for detail for the simple little things that having been taken into the design aspect of these 99 classic’s that makes you start to warm to them before you even put them on.
 
The ear pads themselves are also a PU leather which have a memory foam inside and for me my ears just fit inside the cups but for some of you who have bigger lobes (like my father who tried them on) may find these become more a case of “on ears” instead of “over the ears” pair of headphones. I will come back to the pads a bit more in the “99 Classic sound” section…
 
Everything on this headphone is meant to be serviceable in the long term and used no glue, just nuts and bolts so if anything was to go at some stage down the road it can be replaced although hopefully by the feel and look of the way these have been designed they should last a long time unless you are a professional rock star who likes to throw them around in room destroying tantrums then they should be okay.
 
 
 
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So how do the 99 Classics sound?….
 
I am by nature someone that is mid centric with my listening taste and is the first thing I make sure this is the first stop in hearing the music if my ears like this area making sure it is not recessed at all but I am not adverse to a signature that delivers a bass happy signature as I do own the JH16pros as my custom iem’s which are tuned to something like +6 db if I remember rightly and then I have the Sony 7520’s which although not obvious with their bass authority do have some bellows on them in the lows after owning the too bass light EU version of the ZX1000 Sony made which was essentially the same headphone with edgy treble and very light bass response.
 
Then last year have been listening too a lot of top end open backs after longing for a nice pair of high end pair of cans I finally purchased a pair of Grado GS1000e’s which I love and adore and if I had the money could imagine two or three more flagship open backs I would love to own and have also still been keeping my ears on the pulse with mid-price cans like the Beyer T90’s which I was really surprised with last year how good they were for the money so with looks and the cost box been ticked already on these Meze Classics would the sound match its design & build or was it going to be a shallow listening experience with just a pretty pretentious pair of headphones trying to just shift numbers on its designer looks?
 
Please roll up finally for sounds from another galaxy far-far away, Well Romania to be precise for design and manufactured in China.
 
 
 

99 Classic sound impressions

 
First thing I had to try these with was to see if my Sony ZX1 would be enough too drive them as I’ve had a few apparently efficient headphones the ZX1 has struggled with (including my Sony 7520’s) to get the optimum from them so wanted to know if it would be enough to drive the 99 Classics 32 ohms and thankfully they also did not just drive them with ease and effort they still had plenty left on the volume scale if needed so was nice to know they could pair with my ZX1 if I needed to use this for a trip somewhere with just my Walkman without my Hugo or Pure amp.
 
First thing I noticed before getting into the nitty gritty details on the sound is once I had these on I noticed the cable does suffer from micro phonics, although I personally use them just sitting in my armchair I detect this were also designed to be used mobile given their size, isolation and remote cable supplied so could be an issue for the Meze commuter out there who would want to use them on the go.  I personally love the feel and flexibility of the cable despite its micro phonics but the only other sticking point for me at the same time with this cable is it does tend to get tangled up a bit too easy and the 3 metre cable can be a separate game of un-ravel the snake before you get to have a listening session. 
 
Back to how this sounds, first thoughts were WOW! The bass immediately stands out when playing these on my ZX1 and you know from the word go you will not be lacking any bass from these headphones ever!  Meze state they are naturally balanced sound with no artificial tweaking but you cannot help but feel these are bass tuned driven from the front line with their signature and does set the stall out for these as been a fun and exciting sounding headphone yet after a few tracks I was starting to notice there was more to them than just been a bass hungry headphone which my fears are when you get a headphone with plenty of bass is; does this mean the mids are recessed or does it bleed into the mids at all but luckily the mids are pretty balanced.
 
 
 

The Meze Bass

 
What makes these different? Well the more I was listening to these although predominantly they feel like they are on a soul driven bass carpet ride - the bass on these is not just quantity here, bass = quality also on the 99 Classics and has plenty of layers and tonal balance to the bass makes these feel quite life like with plenty of punch and control and can easily differentiate the mid to low bass notes and can be subtle or brutal in their impact especially the sub bass kick it is capable of as the Classics with any recording will engage that into the delivery of what you hear. 
 
When hooked up to the Hugo or Mojo the bass only gets better as it tightens up even more and becomes focused and even more controlled with even more detail nuances to be heard in the bass notes is what actually makes or breaks these headphones as there are plenty of headphones that can do bass but not with the level of detail, tonality and timbre which feels at home with almost any genre I throw at it.
 
It’s not totally perfect as there are some songs where it can sound just a tad over cooked with the low bass notes making it sound bloated, this is a hit and miss thing I encountered which seemed to happen with some good recordings as well as the more average ones so could just be a mix of the generous Meze bass colliding with the way it is mixed on that particular recording for whatever reason beyond my technical knowledge in the sound engineering department...
 
For the most part for someone that has been listening to a lot of open back headphones with a more neutral tuned bass in the last year I found these really addictive as it has an uncanny knack of just sounding quite natural to listen too musically rather than analytical listening sense although it is the ability they have to be analytical enough with details which is mixing well in the warm exciting dynamic fun melting pot with this seductive bass signature which is also in part to the rest of how Meze have built the building blocks of how this sounds overall has a sense of cohesion to everything. 
 
After all it’s okay having a great bass presence which actually has quality as well as quantity but what about how it co- exists with the rest of the sound on these 99 Classics?...
 
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[size=20.007px]The Meze Mids[/size]
 
The one thing I started to notice after a few tracks is that the Classics were not just a one trick pony with just been all about the bass as the more I listened the more it became apparent that what I was hearing with the amount of detail in the bass I was hearing across the mids on this headphone and even started to notice nuances in details on recordings I had heard a hundred times over down the years actually sounding different even after hearing those songs on some more expensive headphones in the last couple of years. It was like they had somehow paved a way in the mids for the little details in recordings to stand out quite distinctively on their own.
 
The mids in general have a good balance of been evident without been to aggressive or forward with a hump to them or recessed and sound clear with an ability for good timing, rhythm & speed which never makes a song slouchy or slow. 
 
 It did make me start to wonder how they were doing this as I thought I had heard it all before until now considering how much these classics are priced at so somehow they are finding a way for the detail to shine through that you will sit up and notice when listening.
 
The soundstage quite wide for a closed back considering it’s small cup size also and it is this soundstage with the excellent stereo imaging which gives these headphones a sense of 3D sound with plenty of depth and height which is contradictive to the small cup design appearance from the outside then putting them on is like taking a step inside the Tardis!
 
These are well insulated closed backs but have to say the imaging is done really well and placement of instruments still have plenty of space around each other and has a very clear presentation which I think lends to the micro details coming through in the mids really well, so well I am trying to work out how I have not heard some of this detail on more expensive cans in last couple of years in the way Meze have managed to do it. 
 
Vocals are clear and focused in the centre and well placed to rest of the soundstage, like the mids they are not recessed and can clearly hear the lead singer at all times and female or male vocals sound equally as good with a fragile/ tender or powerhouse vocalist sounding just as impressive. 
 
The mids also have a good sense of speed, rhythm and timing for a dynamic driver and seem to keep up easy with fast music and the more I listened to my vast eclectic library of Flac & WAV files the more I noticed these are suited to any music even classical as the classics portray very good sense of depth and height which the dynamics of the bass range helps give that sense of feeling with recordings. 
 
 
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The Meze Treble

 
One thing I did worry about initially was the treble which is smooth as butter at times as the highs were not harsh or edgy (which is always my biggest worry with a headphone or iem) nor forward started to think they may have been a bit lost in the balance of the mids and the powerhouse bass but with more songs that went by started to notice it was there but is evenly spread in the mix with complex songs with a lot happening but with something like acoustic music or more easy going music you can hear the top end very easily with a precision to the ringing echoes in micro details of hi-hats and symbols been struck and with very good recordings can portray an uncannily very realistic sounding treble note with Hi Hats & symbols.
 
Finger picking of acoustic guitars or sliding the fret board started to re assure me the treble can have a nice extension giving it the lively enough feel a treble still needs all though always though it doesn’t feel like the most forward of sounding treble sounding headphones it is there and with a refined smooth quality. 
 
With a few straight days under my belt now although you know these are a headphone with a sense of bass on tap in its spades it has a nice balance although not a neutral one with a warmth to its signature and nice natural timbres with anything it plays as even Piano’s do not sound artificial so far but drums and guitar do stand out with this Meze yet it sounds on the most part clear and precise in its execution and delivery and have never heard them sound like they want to distort during music that is hectic, loud and fast and I have been known to listen to my stuff on the louder side of the moon to some out there although not to points of distortion to the ears with treble losing it composure and making the ears bleed. 
 
I usually do spout about different songs and artist I have heard along the way when listening as references but with just listening too so much across a broad range over last few days (as it’s been that addictive) suggests I actually am enjoying and liking these more than I thought I ever would.
 
Last few days of repeated listening to some artist as they sound so good on the Meze like I’ve heard guitars from Rodrigo & Gabriel which is very well suited with the way the hand slapping on the guitars comes through with a resonating wooden echo on the bass which I guess is complimented by it actually coming from a wooden cup driver in the 99 Classics.
 
Fine guitarist such as Antonio Forcione, Lee Ritenour, Kaki King, Joe Bonamassa sound great with good realistic string tones with good speed & decay and just perfect leading and trailing edges to notes with plenty of micro detail in the picking of each string been played with the likes of  AC-DC, Muse, Foo fighters or Pink Floyd have that fluid speed, power and drive that makes electric rock guitars come to life.
 
Where the quality meets depth and slam with clarity on the Meze and can hear how life like the bass is with Imelda May albums with the string bass really hitting through the floor and another great recording with Imelda’s albums as there can be many instruments and harmony’s on top of each other when one of their songs is in top flight but every one of her band can be heard with ease due to the sense of space and soundstage the Meze lends to this good recording.
 
One of my favourite bands Fleetwood Mac rocks with the drive of Mick Fleetwoods signature drumming with the lower mids of Mcvie’s bass guitar sounding multi toned notes with good reverb and meat to the strings and Lindsey’s upper mid guitar sounds pin point without been overly sharp and the harmonys of the group are layered on imaginary clouds and correctly placed in the soundstage and re-living Rumours or Tusk remastered with the added studio outtakes & alternative versions of the album songs are meant for these Meze headphones as the 99 Classic 40mm drivers compliment that already rich punchy layered bass and laid back blues sounds Fleety Mac excel at time and time again.
 
Moving away from my world of Rock genres Dance music really has a kick and slam and this really is how you know how much bass these can throw at you as dance tracks like Sia with her last two albums 1000 Forms of fear & This is acting have bass lines that gradually work their way down to the basement or just a sudden explosion of bass impact like a subwoofer can really emphasis Sia’s vocals which are powerful in their own right but the Classics bring her voice to life with a very energized and clear engagement that is right at the front of the stage. I think I had goose bumps listening to Sia with a few of her songs on the Meze.
 
… Zola Jesus, Leftfield, Rob D or Daft Punk’s Tron OST has dimension and impact depth, power, height and control with sounding and feeling (yes, feeling) like a real club like Jamo or JBL bass through these CNC & hand crafted wooden cups as it resonates which some might not like but I happen to love it as long as the actual tonality and realism of the bass sounds correct to the relevant song.
 
This is also why live music really excels on the 99 Classics and really takes you to another place with that vast soundstage with the recordings actually making the Meze soundstage sound bigger than it usually does with studio recordings yet Fleetwood Mac – The Dance Live is where the Meze bass is at home as it makes the drum kicks just like they sound live as the drum sound travels around you as it pans out from Micks centre point on stage and the frequent use of chimes, symbols, hi-hats show how capable it can handle the treble as good as it does in the mids and bass on this album.
Stevie Nicks “Soundstage sessions” Live another example of this with her gritty V10 powered blues tilt into rock driven vocals.
 
Cream live at Royal Albert Hall especially the ten minute drumming showcase song “Toad” is exceptional to listen to on the 99 Classics and captures the spectrum of frequency ranges and instruments been played whilst capturing the feeling of actually been there with the soundstage presence of width and distance with the crowd in the background. 
 
I am quite a sucker for female vocalist including Stevie Nicks as already mentioned but listening to female artist like Nina Simone, Sia, Birdy, Tori Amos, Ellie Goulding, Lissie or Florence & the Machines big sound all take control and the addictive bass presence with good textured mids takes a back seat whilst you become transfixed to the focus the 99 Classics vocals manage to capture with the sense of raw emotion and placement with timing and tonal rendering of the vocal pallet feel and sound real enough to captivate and belief allowing me to lose myself in the music. 
 
Kate Bush - Aerial  is another very well recorded album although there are some oddity tracks on these two cd’s which really exemplifies the spaces and airiness of this album which makes even the obscure tracks on here interesting too.
 
 Tori Amos Crucify & Under the Pink remastered it really shows what the 99 Classics can do with recordings that are mastered really well and can perform on a level of reference listening in terms of detail and natural feel of music that connects when you listen to these which let you just enjoy rather than analyse the music so must be something about how they have struck a balance despite the uncanny ability to be one of the really bass pronounced sounding pair of headphones I’ve heard for a while but it’s how it handles the mid bass and sub bass with distinction of tonal accuracy and timbre reality has helped me relive these remasters of Tori Amos like the first time I ever heard them.
 
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Despite these been a warmer sounding pair of cans with that Meze sound classical music is really suited to the 99 classics also because although warmish it has the clarity room to breathe with detail to still make symphony’s like Mahler No.5 have authority yet a spatialness and air without It becoming trapped or muffled in the horn section when during the lively passages and the higher than average detail for the price tier can be heard during the quite passages in the background gives the sense of how big the venue is with sound reverb from various movements of sounds made by people rustling and moving.
 
Wood kid big wide open power sound with Tracks like Run Boy Run and Iron becoming addictive in the mid-range building layers as the song develops and the sub bass again excels with Woodkid recordings and his crescendo high that builds continuously towards the end of Run Boy Run never loses control even when at a high volume lending to the impact the final section of that song builds up too.
 
Again there are a few songs that have at times when the Meze shows the tendency to bloat with the bass it can bleed a little to the lower mids and muffle or cancel out the clarity of the song yet with Nina Simone it shows the 99 Classics are capable of the nailing it when it keeps the bass in check rhythm and timing really captivating and the classic song “Sinner Man” on the 99 Classics shows the Meze’s ability to shine with the treble section on a track like this.
 
The piano seems to flow quite naturally and sounds good when it hits the breakdown section at approx. 8.30mins before the final melee run of all the instruments portrays the piano keys not overblown on the bass note edge and the upper mids to highs of notes the timbre sounds natural enough to me so the warmth of the Meze does not ruin the spacious trebly feel of this song or ruin that mid to high driven rhythm & timing that had me tapping my feet along with this 10 min journey of a song.
 
The reason I think the 99 Classics is managing to pull at my heart strings is because of the way Meze have made this have a cohesion of sound which although warm and no matter how they say it is tuned it has a more than neutral or studio flat tuned feel bass about it to my ears yet there is a lovely balance to these headphones which is only really set apart from the amount of detail they manage to somehow extract in the right areas at the right moments to compliment the overall exciting bass driven signature.
 
With all this Meze have managed to really gel this into sounding a *non fatiguing fun & enjoyable yet accurate enough for serious listening headphone at the same time which has left me feeling perplexed in a happy way!?
 
*denote is for as many hours as they are good to listen to with plenty of listening time with them the PU leather pads can get a bit warm at times so not sure how that would bear for people who it will fit on the ear over a prolonged listening session. 
 
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Finally what album I find will pretty much try any headphone in all departments in their songs is an old favourite of mine that I almost forgot to try until the 11th hour of having these on loan and have down the years used: Yello – The Race album as one of my demo track cds for auditioning my speaker Hi-Fi seperates and now use in same way in the head-fi world with trying out equipment which I now have the luxury of now days having the much improved remaster version and have to say listening to this really did blow my mind as it was just spot on as if I was hearing this through my B&W floor standing speakers.
 
The balance between the different frequency’s is very coherent has an amazing sense of speed and clarity in the mids whilst this bass impacts with a sub bass rumble is continuing in the background to the soundtrack of major drum rolling and and the hi-hats resonate just perfectly as they clash repeatedly.
 
 The Race track is a very dynamic track and the Meze is faithful to this and adds that meat to the bone where a lot of neutral headphones will lack in reproducing how this track should sound with a really slick and fast presentation with plenty of dynamics and a proper sub bass feel which makes the most of the soundstage and imaging with the sound of old racing cars panning from side to side.
 
There are few headphones out of all of them that have managed to capture this album just right like always hearing these track on a pair of big speakers and I can truthfully say I have heard it on only two or three headphones that were two open backs and one closed back costing between £500-£1700 which really done this song justice so was in my element listening to this album again to how the recording is across the spectrum.
 
The Classics also sounded really competent when I heard trumpets and trombone’s with Trombone Shorty’s “For true” album and the trumpet having a focused centralized point of sound delivery with plenty of body and verve blasting the air with a feel of power which gives a very 3D dynamic feel in listening as if been at a parade in New Orleans which then gave me the bug to listen to more blues music orientated music on these 99 Classics. 
 

Conclusion

The 99 Classics have really surprised me after first visually liking these with intrigue through to hearing them finally thanks to the Meze tour coming along.
Though at first hearing these can predominantly just sound bass accentuated with not much treble end but after listening to this for prolonged period they are more balanced than they appear as my biggest dread is a recessed mid in a headphone so having just the right amount of mids which do not seem to humped or recessed helps build the foundation allowing the really low bass to work on these.
 
Oh yes that bass, which really would not work if not so much attention had been paid to getting them to sound very detailed with a good sense of accuracy of timbre, speed and space leading to good separation with that BASS and have a good frequency sweep with clarity from the upper mid bass all the way down to the sub bass floor all with a smooth cohesion of dynamics which makes these become addictive despite not all tracks benefitting from this it is few and far between with its warmish tint but not overly warm sound that it becomes a bit fuzzy and sluggish sounded is the quality of detail that is combined and intertwined into this quite inconspicuous fun, rich, dynamic and responsive open sounding closed back cans.
 
It all adds up to meaning you can just sit back and relax to the music on these and hear a great amount of detail retrieval at this level the Classics are set at without it been over analytical in the detail department that makes these sound good with lesser recordings and sound really great with superior recordings whether Red book or Hi-res tracks so they scale well.
 
I really think this maybe be the headphone that could ween the bass happy Beats generation onto a headphone that still can do bass but with a natural balance to the order of putting tonality and detail in the music first with a dynamic feel and engagement that has made me rethink that headphones at this price can and maybe still have a place when you own more expensive offerings.
 
So for that young Beats owner making the jump they might not need to upgrade to the next level for a while before the day comes they feel ready to go flagship level if they ever go that far which then does make me also wonder if Meze can produce this build, design with this sound for this price would and could they do with a bigger budget for a flagship model one day?
 
Will be keeping my eye on Meze in the future for sure but for now will seriously consider getting one of these later on despite owning the very talented detailed Grados which I love and my current Sony 7520s feel the urge to still have a pair of these for sure which has surprised me as I went into this really thinking they cannot sound good as they look! How wrong I was, sorry Meze, somehow I find myself listening to the 99 Classics happily for hours (when pads do not get to hot) and do have to remind myself I am listening to a pair of headphones that are priced at only 309 euros currently. 
 
… they may not be totally perfect after all there is room for improvement in some areas the 99 Classics are a lot closer to overall cohesion perfection musically than others at this price point and the few negatives I pointed out would not be a deal breaker for me especially at this price and sure this is a company which will work on those things in time with the amount of attention and effort  they pay putting into the design and build as well as most of it has been a common sense approach with a reasoning behind the design to have a use and not to just look pretty so look forward to the future offerings as I feel Meze could be one to watch grow over time into a bigger player if they can cook up more  headphones like this. 
 
Although as you can tell by now I am concluding to liking these Meze I will say this with an impartial approach still, if you like your bass in your music you will like these with the added benefit of still sounding fairly balanced still with clarity and more than average detail at this price point with good eye for detail and great thought behind the build. 
 
But if you are the type of person that likes a more neutral  flatter bass like studio monitoring style reference of bass reproduction or a lighter bass not so much bottom end then you might want to try something else but if you like a real sense of how music is not about analytics in details only and more about emotion and soul with dynamical power and excitement to its signature on tap then these my friend are for you (probably!)
 
Lastly... DSC05344.jpg 
Thank you for the opportunity to have these for seven fast and fun days that opened my eyes once again to how the audio world can still surprise and is evolving at all levels.
rocketron
rocketron
A great and insightful review. Out standing photographic skills. Makes this one of the best reviews I have read on Headfi. Thank you.
erich6
erich6
Awesome review.  Thanks for taking the time to do this and share with all of us.
FortisFlyer75
FortisFlyer75
Thanks erich6, It was my pleasure as I found a headphone that really does not have to cost the earth to be good.  I am still enjoying these and won't say it too loud but these get more listening time than my Grado GS1K's!  Funny enough I am doing a review on the classic 12 IEM at the moment so is interesting to compare how they have transferred the 99 sound from a headphone into an IEM...
Pros: Sound, impact, tuning, comfort
Cons: Microphonic cable and frame, ear pads get a little warm.
First, I’d like to thank Meze for this awesome tour. It’s been hard, reading all of the glowing reviews and waiting for my spot. By the time I got them, I was afraid that my “contrary nature” would put them at a disadvantage. I just tend to buck trends, and am skeptical about anything that gets such widespread praise.
15 seconds with these headphones took care of that concern…

BASS
A lot of people believe the bass is one of the most important aspects of a headphone….
You know what? My usual way of wanting to write a review just isn’t going to work with these headphones. In my experience, nothing about these headphones has anything to do with being ‘neutral’, ‘transparent’, or ‘revealing’. In fact, these cans sound like they don’t care about any of that.

I just can’t imagine going in-depth on each song on my reference list and describing the sonic virtues and deficits (and there are a few). Because for this guy, these headphones made music, from Ufomammut, to Frank Zappa, to Tyler Swift, sound like I want them to sound. Everything was fun, lively, and energetic. I couldn’t help but tap my toes, bang my head, and rock back-and-forth while sitting on my deck chair. Even my girlfriend smiled and tapped her fingers to the beat when she had them on. Everything was just THERE!

I did, of course, compare them to my Hifiman HE-400i’s and Mr. Speakers Alpha Primes through my Liquid Carbon amp. They 99’s did not fare so well in that decidedly un-fair competition. The just didn’t scale very well. The clarity and transparency of the Primes were just a totally different experience.But in the end, I just didn’t care. I just put them back into my iPhone, iPad, and laptop and let them do what they were born to do: BOOGIE!

I read a lot of reviews and threads bemoaning the state of the hobby, with $5000 headphones and such. But there is a lot going on in the sub-$500 category that for me, redeems the excesses at the Top of The Line stuff. I think Meze really hit the target with the Classic 99’s.

But not quite a bullseye. I found the cables, and even the frame itself, to be quite microphonic. The ear pads could be a little larger, and the pads do get a bit on the warm side.
So, I’m giving these 4 stars. I just think Meze can and will do better, and if they ever join in the TOTL battles, I’ll pick up a pair. The Classic 99’s hint at greatness, and I would like to hear what they do if they go all-out. In the meantime, I’ll be buying these. I joined this hobby for fun, and the Classic 99’s deliver as well or better than any headphones I have tried to date.
Bansaku
Bansaku
Nice review! Short and sweet.
jinxy245
jinxy245
Nice review...I think you hit the nail on the head
 
To paraphrase:
 
"They 99’s did not fare so well in that decidedly un-fair competition. The just didn’t scale very well. The clarity and transparency...were just a totally different experience.But in the end, I... let them do what they were born to do: BOOGIE!"
 
These aren't for the analytical & transparency freaks among us. These are just simply enjoyable headphones that don't stray so far from neutral to be bothersome...I remember smiling just about every time I put them on.
 
Thanks for the review!
swspiers
swspiers
Thanks, jinxy and everyone else. More testament to how much I like them: I just got the HD 800 S on Friday, and the Classic 99's are still on my "must have" list.
Pros: Robust, durable carrying case, detachable cables, a pleasant sound
Cons: Resonant headband, kitschy gold inserts, non-movable pads
For the beginning, I would like to thank Meze Team for providing me the headphones for this test.
This is my first review on HF.
 
Remember the group The Stranglers and their song "Golden Brown"? I had such an impression, when I saw these headphones out of the case. Wooden cups, metal connections, gilded elements - you can easily see that this is not just any product. But we can easily see that it is not for everyone - bronze and gold, you have to hate it or you have to like it. There is no third option. Beauty or kitsch, you have to decide.
 
What’s in the box:
Headphones come in matching gray pouch. There are two wires - one with microphone (1.2 m long) and second without (3 m long). As almost everyone now, the manufacturer adds the adapters: 6.3 mm jack and for airplane. Wires are pleasant in touch and looks very solid.
 
Construction:
Metal and wood, gold and black. There is something in this combination of Baroque paintings, hence probably the association with the name. The manufacturer offers also a white maple wood version with silver inserts, instead of dark walnut and gold. Check Meze home site for option. 
Earpads are nice, shiny, but unfortunately small. In my home headphones (ATH - M50x) even stock pads are larger. And since I have changed my pads to Brainwavz HM5 replacement pads, those of Meze look just for older kids. Speaking of HM5 - legend says that they are supposedly somewhere in the world some headphones, which do not fit with HM5 pads :)
The headband is made with leather bands and metal shields. And here, unfortunately, Meze made a mistake - because the headband strongly resonates with every touch (as every metal does) and even with rapid movement of the head. Gold clampings look very solid, nothing moves, nothing squeaks.
 
Everyday use:
Well headphones are good sitting on the head, only small earpads can make troubles in adjusting to the ears. They don't clamp like some AKG products. Headband, though solid, looks fine. Only this resonance - try to move his head and did not hear slithering sound - you can't. When it comes to isolation from the environment - is good, but not great. My stock M50x are better and there is no comparison with Focal Spirit Pro (my previous headphones).
 
Rock or Classic?
In my opinion these are the headphones tuned for fun, just not for analytical sound. Bass descends very low, but fortunately is well controlled and fast. Mids are slightly distanced, does not sound so crisp like Focal. However, the instruments are good recognized and in a proper separation one from another. Overall, not bad, but it could be a bit better. Trebles are quite good, but again there is no such resolution in highs, even my ATH takes advantage here. I miss the long playing of percussion instruments, but I am a treble-centred person.
 
Wrap-up:
In summary - the headphones are good and undemanding to the source - my Note 4 Exynos calmly drives them. My home PC with AIM SC808 sound card (with changed Opamps) drives them also without any problems. The sound is clear and crisp, I only miss some more highs. If I had bought, I would choose rather silver version with maple wood, but I understand Meze makers - gold version is made for winning audiophiles and esthetes hearts.
 
Songs played during test (some of them):
Assal & Zenn - Fontanna
Azam Ali - Shirin
Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5.55
Chroma Key - Colorblind
Eivør - Trøllabundin
Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Kaneda/Requiem (Akira OST)
Hooverphonic - Inhaler
Kari Bremnes - Like før dagen går ned
Nils Lofgren - Keith Don't Go
Om - Haqq Al-Yaqin
Vienna Teng - Unwritten Letter #1
reddog
reddog
A good review.
taffy2207
taffy2207
The 'Golden Brown' was Heroin lol Hope the case wasn't filled with that :p
raulendymion
raulendymion
Thank you guys. Yeah, I know, that the song was about drugs :) But for me (and I never used any of them) it is only colour. White too :))
Pros: a fun sounding headphone, portable, easy to drive, sexy looking.
Cons: the cups could be a tad larger, wish the headphones folded for more better portability.
About Me
I am a 52 year old audophile,  from Bradenton Florida.  I have been in this hobby, for about two years.   The sound from headphone blew me away, and I dived down the proverbial rabbit hole and have not come back up.   I use headphones to cope with pain from a back injury.  Furthermore  headphones allow me to hear the sound, without out side distractions. I suffer from a cognitive hearing disorder and headphones have allowed me to over come this problem and to enjoy music for the first time, in a very long time.   I am a temporarily  unemployed vcr repairman and improv pirate actor
Equipment Used
Source​
MacBook Pro​
Tidal​
OPPO  BPD-103​
ONKYO CD Player​
Queststyle QP1R​
Dacs​
Schiit Audio Yggdrasil​
Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit​
Music​
Frank Zappa​
Apostrophe: track 8: Uncle Remus​
Guitar: track 3: Republican​
One Sise Fits All: track 7: San Ber'dino​
Led Zeppeplin : Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp​
Isao Tomita​
The Planets: Mars, The Bringer of War​
Dave Brubeck​
Time Out​
Disk 1: track 3: Take Five​
Charles Mingus​
Mingus Ah Um​
Track 3: Boogie Stop Shuffle​
Track 4: Self-Portrait: in Three Colors​
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart​
Molto Allegro​
Green Jelly​
Cereal Killer Soundtrack​
Track 2: Three Little Pigs​
Kate Bush​
The Sensual World.​
The Headphone: The Build 
I participated in the Meze 99 Classics Tour and here is the review.  When I signed for these headphones, I was really impressed with the box they came in.  The box is very sturdy,  and has a has a clever magnet  that keeps the box closed.  Within the box, one will find the headphones in  a  nice clam carrying case, and inside the case,  a small leather bag, that has the 1/4th adapter and  a cell phone lightning adapter. Also in the box are two headphone cables.  One cable is long and nice to use on desktop amps. The second cable, is  shorter and is meant to be used with a cell phone.  I thought the cables are well made, although they can be a bit microphonic, at times.   If I buy myself these headphones, I will see about getting  a custom balanced cable from Norne Audio.  
These headphones look very nice and are well made.  The   walnut headphone cups are very nice, although they might be a tad small for some people.  The headband is covered in leather  and I found it was very comfortable, no over clamping, like a medieval torture device.  The twin manganese spring steal headband supports are tough and add to the natural beauty of these sexy headphones.  While out and about the town,  I found these cans to be quite light and comfortable to wear.  Furthermore my the foam on the ears cups breathe quite well and my ears rarely got overly warm.   These amazing portable closed cans do not leak out sound to much and isolate me from outside disturbances like the phone, the nagging  cat,  alarm clocks, or pesky storm warning alarms lol.
SPECS 
Tranducer Size: 40mm​
Frequency responce: 15Hz- 25Khz​
Sensitivity: 103db at 1KHz, 1mW​
Impedance: 32Ohm​
Rated input power: 30mW​
Maximum input power: 50mW​
Detachable Kevlar OFC cable​
Plug 3.5 mm Gold plated​
Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables​
Ear-cups: Walnut wood​
SOUND
The Meze 99 Classics is a great sounding portable headphone.  I found the sound to be fun, with nice emphasis on the bass, slight recessed mids,  great vocals and alright  non fatiguing treble.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed the fun sound signature.  Normally I want my headphones to sound balanced, and natural sounding.  But  I really enjoyed the emphasis on the bass. The bass on these cans satisfies the bass monkey, that sleeps on my back.  The bass emphasis  really made the guitars in  Frank Zappa's San Ber'dino fun to listen too.   Likewise the bass in Led Zeppelin" Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, sounded  so deep and satisfying.  Finally the bass made Frank Zappa's Republicans sound ominous, almost scary.
Because of the emphasized bass, the mids seemed just a tad reccesed  but  the vocals have a texture to them and  are out of this world good.  The   vocals by Zappa, Kate Bush and Green Jelley sounded very pallable and real  through the Meze.   The mids on the Meze are still smooth sounding with a slight edginess, that really made jazz sound sweet.  Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus sound just right, coming through these amazing cans. The treble is non fatiguing and sounded alright to my ears.
The soundstage is wide, but not to deep.  Still pretty good for a closed back can. Most of the music I listened too, the soundstage was quite nice, with a nice three-dimensional quality.  Tomita's The Planest sounded quite nice out of these sexy wooden headphones.  The soundstage was able to handle the different sounds and place them adequately around my ears.   Only when I was listening to Mozart did I think the soundstage was a bit congested sounding.
These headphones are quite easy to drive.  I used a great many amps with them, but it was overkill.  Even on low gain, I did not have to crank up the volume at all, to get these cans to sing.  I hooked them up to the Liquid Crimson and the Ragnarok and the cans sounded great, but I could barely turn up the volume. I was afraid these big powerful amps might damage  these exquiste headphones   The best device I used to make these cans sing was the QP1R, on medium gain.  The QP1R made these headphones sound great,  a very good synergy between these two.  
Conclusion
I think the Meze 99 classics headphone is a great headphone.  it has a fun, slightly v shaped sound signature, with nice emphasis on the bass  The cans are quite well made and 
sound great.  These headphones are quite portable and were a pleasure to take out and about.  These cans were the only ones I have worn, where two pretty ladies
, thought I looked good wearing these sexy cans.  I even had a dishwasher come out and ask about the headphones.  I highly recomend these headphones to anyone who wants to just enjoy listening to music.  I love my other cans but these cans fun music signature are perfect for walking around, doing stuff. When at home I use my other cans, for critical listening.
here are  some pictures of these amazingly fun and sexy headphones.IMG_20160327_112748.jpg
IMG_20160327_112844.jpg
IMG_20160321_090656.jpg
IMG_20160321_090656.jpg
IMG_20160321_090744.jpg
IMG_20160321_090726.jpg
 
IMG_20160327_112844.jpg
 
 
 ​
pbui44
pbui44
My winking smiley did not show up for some reason, so take the above recommendation as a joke and tread lightly with the album in total enjoyment.
mikemercer
mikemercer
Great job! love em too!!!!
reddog
reddog
Thank you everyone for the kind words.
Pros: Detailed layered midrange, gorgeous aesthetics, light weight, easy to drive, excellent accessories
Cons: Bass heavy, some distortion at low end, small cup size, thin pads, some clamping related fatigue

Acknowledgment    

Thank you Meze Headphones for allowing me to participate in your European tour in exchange for my honest opinion of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics.

Introduction

Meze Headphones is a relatively new headphone manufacturer. The 99 Classics were funded through a Kickstarter campaign and are now out trying to conquer our ears with lush mid-range overtones. When I write reviews for items that I didn't buy, I use the lower price of Amazon.com or list price. The conquest proceeds after the break, but first here's a little bit-o-junk about me. There is no such thing as an impartial observer, so I suggest you know where reviewers you invest your trust in are coming from.
 
Like most sensible people I starting falling in love with music as a child. My first portable audio device was a Sony Walkman (the cassette kind) that I got when I was 10 years old (24 years ago).  I listened with the cheap Sony on ears that came with the Walkman until I bought a Koss CD boombox and started listening to UAF College Radio and 103.9 (alternative rock at the time) in Fairbanks, Alaska. I once listened to Louie Louie for 3 days straight, and I’m not insane. My musical tastes started out with listening to what my friends liked (Dr. Dre and Green Day) and what my parents liked (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) and I only really discovered my own musical tastes and sonic preferences in my late teens to early 20s. What I discovered is that I have very eclectic and some would say weird tastes. I could be listening to gay punk rock, Japanese dream garble pop, 8-bit chiptune, Scandinavian black metal, Latin guitar, the Mariinsky Orchestra, or Miles Davis, but I mostly listen to Classic Rock and Indie/Alternative. I’m a big fan of intelligent hip-hop like Metermaids, Kendrick Lamar and Aesop Rock, also.
 
I tend to like headphones that are all-around performers, this generally means a balanced or neutral sound. I somehow never manage to have much money, so I don’t want to buy infinity headphones to switch between my myriad genres that I play. I can hear all the way down to 10hz and all the way up to 23Khz—these are what I’ve heard doing test tones on headphones.  It has been a long time since I had a test with an audiologist. I’m sensitive to peaky treble but do enjoy smooth extended treble. I like deep rich tight bass and impactful drums, and dislike upper midbass emphasis.  I like my vocals crisp, so stay away from Josh Tillman’s voice you nasty upper midbass hump.  I hear soundstage better than just about anything I identify in music, but my words haven’t caught up to my ears. I listen at volume levels that others consider loud (72 to 75 dB), but I just set it to where the dynamics peak. I’m not here to shatter my eardrums. I like them just how they are.
 
I don’t believe in using EQ, not even for inexpensive headphones, especially in reviews. I won’t claim that I haven’t done it, but I generally try to avoid it.
 
I’m a firm believer that cables can make a difference, but I don’t think they always do. When I tried out Toxic Cables line, none of them had labels and the cheapest looking one was the one I liked the best. I was excited that I wouldn’t have to spend much to improve my sound. It turned out that the cheapest looking one was the Silver/Gold top of the line cable. I’ve heard the difference that USB cables can make, from upgrading from the crappy cable that came with my Geek Out 1000 to a Supra USB, and then again when upgrading to the LH Labs Lightspeed 2G with the iUSB3.0. When I picked up a cheap shielded power lead from Mains Cables R Us to replace my standard kettle lead on my amplifier, I heard more crunchy and clearer treble. I switched the leads with my wife blinded and she heard the same difference. I didn’t tell her what I heard and let her describe it herself. But cables don’t always make a difference. When I switched from my standard HD650 cable to a custom balanced cable (Custom Cans UK, very affordable), the sound stayed exactly the same when hooked up via a top tier (custom made by @dill3000 silver/gold) 4-pin XLR to 6.3mm converter. Balanced mode made a difference in clarity and blackness of background. Your mileage may vary and you may not hear a difference, but I have.

 

Manufacturer Specifications

I’ve decided after a bit of reading around that @Brooko is right, if a manufacturer provides specs, we should list them. I’m not convinced that specs are always accurate, or that specs even matter on many headphones. Plenty of headphones don’t sound like their measurements, for better or worse.
 
Here are the specs for the Meze Headphones 99 Classics from Meze Headphones' website:
 
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
Ear-cups
Walnut wood
 
Meze Headphones also provided a frequency chart for the 99 classics:
 
99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg

I found that what Meze Headphones represented their headphones as was fairly accurate. Using test-tones from Audiocheck.net I ran through some frequency checks. You need a sampling rate of at least double the frequency to test any given frequency, so I use 16/48 tones. At 16Khz there was plenty of bass still there. At 10Khz, the sound bass was still audible, but very faint. These are definitely high performers on bass extension. I don’t think much of anybody hears up to 25Khz, but I did test these at 23Khz and the tone was still audible. I’ve never heard tones above 23Khz, and most people won’t hear that, so I don’t bother trying. Using my SPL meter, I found that roll-off on treble starts at about 16Khz. The dip before and then peak at 5Khz is audible on some tracks—we’ll return to that later.

 

Form & Function

The Meze 99 Classics come with a smorgasbord of goodness when it comes to form and function. They are dead sexy looking, and come with two cables in separate lengths (a shorter cable with microphone, and a longer one without), an airline adaptor, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm jack adaptor, a high quality hard-case (with a zipper pouch for carrying accessories), and all of the parts or 100% user serviceable. Meze Audio also used the increasingly popular 3.5mm dual mono connectors for their headphone cable (HiFiMan headphones from 2015 onward, Sennheiser HD700, Oppo PM2, Oppo PM1). This should allow cheap and easy custom cable acquisition for playing these in balanced mode. Pretty dang sweet. I didn’t get to try balanced mode during my demo, but it is an exciting prospect. If I receive the pair after the tour, I’ll update this review with impressions in balanced mode.
 
The Meze Headphones 99 Classics are likely the most aesthetically beautiful headphones in their price bracket. The dark walnut wood and gold highlights ooze luxury and quality, and you don’t have to be a model on Meze Headphones’ website—there is more make-up in those photos than at a MAC counter—to immediately look more fashionable for wearing them. I hope Sex Bob-omb—
 

 
 
—headphones like these make certain B-words now owned and marketed by rounded corner rectangle slinging fruit merchants rapidly go out of fashion. I want to puke every time I see those cheap plastic crap cannons on anyone’s ears.  Please never get sponsorship from them, Head-Fi.
 
The pads are made of artificial leather that feels and looks nice enough, but they have a small cup size and are too thin. Now I don’t discriminate on cup size normally, but if something says circumaural in its description, its perimeter better make it around my ears. I think these could go around my 8-month old daughter’s ears, but my 8 year old nephew might have some problems. My average size 34 year-old ears make the 99 Classics fall strictly in the supra-aural category. I found that the headphones built pressure on my ears over time, with the soreness most notable after removing them, especially on the lower ears for me. It took about two to three hours for this effect to happen. I think the clamping pressure could probably be relieved somewhat by relaxing the metal band tension a bit, but I didn’t want to stretch out headphones on loan to me.  I know it doesn't look as stylish, but I'll take comfort over style—give me bigger earholes and deeper pads.
 
Isolation is pretty meager with these. Walking next to light traffic there is almost no isolation. They performed well in a quiet office, neither allowing me to hear much sound outside of the music I wanted to listen to and not allowing my neighbours to hear me blasting ‘a little silhouette of a man’ into their consciousness for all time. There was no Wayne’s World head-banging in my 1976 AMC Pacer of an office. My office-mates are not worthy, apparently.
 
headbanging_waynes_world.gif


Now for some audiophile content rated M (the headphones are inappropriately sexy):
Meze99Classics2of14.jpg Careful when opening, this is actually the back of the box
Meze99Classics3of14.jpg The real front of the box
Meze99Classics5of14.jpg Side
Meze99Classics6of14.jpg Other side
 
Yeah, I know, those were good, but the lede was misleading. Here are the pictures you actually wanted to see:
Meze99Classics12of14.jpg
Meze99Classics9of14.jpgMeze99Classics11of14.jpg
Meze99Classics7of14.jpgMeze99Classics14of14.jpg
 

Testbed

The equipment used for technical testing was as follows:
  1. Wensa SPL Meter
  2. iFi Micro iDAC2
  3. iFi Micro iUSB3.0
  4. iFi iPurifier2
  5. 2 LH Labs Lightspeed 2G cables
  6. Meze Audio 99 Classics Headphones
  7. Sennheiser HD600 (panty-hose mod, increases soundstage, removes ‘veil’)
_1160677.jpg_1160739.jpg

 

Audio quality

For most of my impressions I was listening out of the iFi iDAC2 with the iPurifier2 (reviews here and here), but I also did some listening with my LH Labs Geek Out 1000 paired with the iPurifier2. There was never any point where the 99 Classics were under-powered, it only took about 20% volume to power these to loud with the GO 1000. They are remarkably easy to drive. They may be too easy to drive as I think a little bit higher impedance would make some tracks have less distortion on the low end.
 
These do an excellent job separating out vocal layers. On Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (West German Target pressing) this is especially apparent in the chorus. Each of the three vocalists is distinctly identifiable in space. Well done, Meze Audio, this isn't usually the case. I think these do a little better than the HD600 on this song.
 
On Eagles - Hotel California (DCC Gold), the jet pan is a little lost in the mix. I think it is due to some emphasis on other parts and the relatively limited soundstage depth. Imaging is generally good, but there isn't very much air around most instruments. There is an average sound stage. Bass sounds a touch warm and thick.
 
Listening to the new jazz album from Jenny Maybee and Nick Phillips, Haiku, I'm caught off guard in a couple tracks by some dagger sharp piano. I think this may have to do with the 5Khz peak on the frequency response chart. One thing that is interesting about listening to headphones that push some frequencies to extremes, is that you notice peaky parts of recordings you hadn't noticed otherwise. When I switched to the 64Audio ADEL X2 (2 BA ADEL model), the sharp piano was still there, but it was less emphasized and not painful. The same was true with the HD600.
San Francisco Orchestra - Mahler Symphony Number 8, Part I, IV. Gloria Patri Domino (DSD64) is a great track for looking at vocal extremes and separation. These headphones are very suited to choral work. Absolutely fantastic! The soprano sounds dynamic and vibrant and the other singers are nicely placed and layered. Similarly, Trondheim Solistene - Magnificat, Et Misericordia (24/352.8) has great vocal separation. You can't pick out individual voices in entirety, but the flourishes of individual vocalists pull away from the choir nicely.
 
On Why - Strawberries the bass is a bit bloomy. It still sounds good and has decent extension (still shows up at 25hz, but doesn't drop as low as this track can go with any authority). The percussion is good but not among the best of headphones I own. It feels a touch slow on transient response. I get more out of my Trinity Audio Atlas IEMs and Echobox Finder X1 IEMs on transient speed and note decay. The slow decay gives a bit of a romantic character to the sound, but I tend to prefer incisive lighter tones.
 
In another story of revealing characteristics of the headphones, the quality of Regina Spektor's track, Fidelity, is exposed a bit at the beginning when the bass is dropping. There is a little bit of noise in the track that I hadn't really noticed that the Meze 99 Classics amplify a bit. I confirmed it with the HD600 and one of my favourite in ears the 64Audio ADEL X2; it's definitely there. Similar listening on 2Pac – God Bless the Dead, a track I throw in because of its heavy bass and poor mastering that I happen to love, shows that the Meze 99 Classics amplify poorly mastered bass. There is a lot of that going around, especially if you listen to metal music. Not all headphones make that poorly mastered bass as apparent. I think that higher impedance would probably remove some of the amplification of bad bass noise, but I didn’t have an adapter to test that during the time I had them. If I get them again, I’ll test the effect of higher impedance. Proceed with care.

 

[size=24.57px]Conclusions[/size]

These have stunning vocals, beautiful design, premium feel, great accessories; some treble fatigue, unforgiving of noise in the low end of recordings, bass thick but not very textured, overall thickness to sound from bass, cup size not big enough (that's right I said it), and can cause ear soreness due to small pad size and clamping. I think that these compete well with the OPPO PM3 for best work headphone, but I find the OPPOs a little cleaner on sound and more comfortable on the ears. Both headphones have amazing mids, and warm bass.
 
I had thought these would be easy to get a balanced cable, but I was mistaken, 2.5mm mono jacks are common on headphones, but not 3.5mm. The best route for Meze would be to manufacture their own balanced cables, but reterminating the stock cable is another option. Since it comes with two cables, this shouldn't be too much difficulty.
One potential advantage that I haven't got to hear on these is the ease of getting a balanced cable. These have the now ubiquitous mono 3.5mm dual jacks (HiFiMan HE1000, HiFiMan HE-X, HiFiMan 400i and 400s circa 2016, Sennheiser HD700, Oppo PM1, Oppo PM2) so balanced cables are easily available. If I owned any of those headphones, I would have been able to do a balanced shoot-out between the HD600 and the Meze 99 Classics using the LH Labs Geek Pulse X-Infinity. It would have been exciting. Maybe if I win these at the end of the tour I can update my review.
reddog
reddog
A sweet review, liked that you used some Fleetwood Mac, for your audio.
glassmonkey
glassmonkey
Thanks, reddog! I try to use a variety of tracks, but Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Pink Floyd, and Roger Waters are probably my heaviest rotation. Though the new City of the Sun album is going to be moving into that territory really soon. :)
jinxy245
jinxy245
Great review.... Very enjoyable read.... Love the musical rotation, I'll have to check out City of the Sun.
(...and reddog is always good for a kind word!)
Pros: Amazing warm non fatiguing sound, respectably affordable, user serviceable
Cons: metal frame slightly too tight (but may stretch over time)
                                                                                20160321_211706.jpg
 
 
    When first beginning my time with this unit I honestly never thought that it’d give my go to Bowers & Wilkins P7 a run for their money like they did but whew. These beauties really aren’t just good looking let me tell you that.  Before I begin this adventure I need to give a large thanks to @Mezeteam for approving me into this tour. I’ve been wanting to hear this ever since I first seen their design and the wait was most certainly worth it. So again Meze I thank you for my time with these was truly enjoyed and not just me either; many at the Carolina CanFest 5 found tremendous enjoyment out of these as well! But enough pleasantries, let’s dive into this shall we?
 
 I'm a 25 year old firefighter currently for the U.S. Army North Carolina National Guard. I was formerly a civilian firefighter in Kentucky with the Millard Fire Department before I enlisted and moved to my current location in Charlotte, North Carolina. My current goal is to begin my career again in the civilian fire service, and yes, I am the cliché of wanting to do that since as far as I can remember.
    My interests/hobbies are powerlifting, fishing and relaxing to audio products and reviewing them to help other decide on what products would work for them. On that note over the years I've really came to an understanding of what it is I like and look for in audio products.
    What I look for is a relaxing, warm and sensual sound that just drifts me away in the emotional experience of the music being performed. Yes, accuracy is still important but I will happily sacrifice that if I'm presented with a clean, warm sound that can wisp me away into an experience that makes me yearn for more.
    My ideal signature are that of respectably forward mids and upper bass range with the bass being controlled but with some slight decay. I like my treble to have great extension and detail reveal but I don't like artificial treble in order to achieve that. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI, Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics & Stax SR009.
 
     20160321_212234.jpg     20160321_212704.jpg     20160321_212403.jpg
 
 
The Opening Experience
 
For those who don’t know me, I’m a stickler for the unboxing experience. For to me this represents a company extending their hand out to introduce themselves. Perhaps it’s my Kentucky background who knows, but I believe wholeheartedly in delivering a firm handshake and introducing yourself with confidence and pride.
    It’s extremely rare that a consumer has the opportunity to meet with the people behind the brand you’re purchasing. So in my opinion a product that shows pride and is displayed professionally and with confidence (i.e. not bogged down with useless jargon) that’s a huge plus for me and is representative of receiving a firm handshake. I’ve met some fine people in my life that are very successful but have a very limp handshake, and even knowing their background I’m disappointed and bored everytime we initially meet and it takes them a while for me to get interested in what they have to offer.
    In the case of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics, from the outer box they score respectably to me. The front and sides of the box are exactly what I look for, they let my mind wonder into what these really look like, sound like and feel like. The box is well made and feels nice and the sides are equally teasing with only a frequency graph to lure me in a little more. And then there’s the back. I kinda relate these to romance time with your significant other, they’re in their sexiest outfit and building you up and despite knowing what they look like the build up just makes it much better. Then mid way into the build up they just drop everything suddenly. Again you know that what you were going to see is beautiful but there’s no need to rush things.
    That analogy describes the outer box of the 99 Classics perfectly. Everything builds up to you slowly opening the box and unveiling the treasure underneath but then when you check out the back NOPE DENIED. There it is with a whole buncha words, phrases and quotes about the perfection of these and other hype builders of these. Actually on that note,before I dive deeper I HATE that word. For there is NO such thing as perfect and I find that a little a bit arrogant to insignifi such. But I digress
    As I finally open the box I’m now greeted with a very nice presentation of the molded case that shapes to the headphones and gold colored Meze logo. Upon lifting the quite hard case up I’m enjoying the very nice curves of the case that outline the headphones inside beautifully. While unzipping the case, you begin to see the beautifully crafted art work that lies underneath and once the restrictive article is fully opened the artwork underneath truly is stunning.
    Real walnut wood cups and all aluminum framework makes these one of the most visually striking headphones I’ve ever seen. They possess a real nice weight to them that’s not heavy, but enough to feel sturdy in my hands. Also included is two very high quality cables (1 microphones mobile cable and 1 6’ standard cable), an airplane adaptor and a ¼” adaptor.
    So, was I given a memorable opening experience to the Meze Headphones 99 Classics? You better darn believe it!
 
20160321_211824.jpg  20160321_212150.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Construction
 
As I say in most of my reviews, this is an aspect that I feel is often overlooked; even amongst high end headphones. What’s the use of listening to audio nirvana if it only lasts one session? I touched on this in the previous section but the 99 Classics are build beautifully well. Real wood ear cups add an very nice and natural feel without any give. The aluminum (correction: It's actually spring steel) frame is rugged but has enough give as to not snap if accidental pressure is applied. The cords are well braided and very tangle resistant and what's more they’re detachable, so heaven forbid one becomes frayed you can very easily either buy another from their website or even an upgraded aftermarket cable. So I’ve no concern in my mind with regards to the longevity of the Meze 99 Classics. These should easily last you many years and countless hours or musical bliss, treated properly of course.
 
                                                                                                                           20160321_211805.jpg
 
Comfort
 
    Now onto the thing I look for second most only to audio quality, and that’s how long can I comfortably wear these without having to adjust or worse remove them? Very little is more irritating than finding that great song but being unable to enjoy it because the gear you’re using to too uncomfortable and does nothing but distract from the piece being performed.
    In the case of the 99 Classics I find them to be acceptable but not perfect in this regard. The frame provides a decent amount of clamping force to my head that granted, I believe will stretch to my size over time (correction: due to the nature of spring steel it's highly unlikely the metal will give any contour), but until then it pushes just a little too much that added with the slightly too small ear cups (that also is subjective because my ears are above normal size) reduces my listening time to roughly 2 hours before I have to take a break from using them.
    If you didn’t notice I used the word “little” intentionally more than is necessary to show that it’s not a horrible thing but only a minor adjustment I feel to make these a top contender headphone in every aspect. Because the headband is wonderfully comfortable as is the memory foam ear pads, but just those two things combined was just what was needed to take away from them hitting the bullseye.
 
EDIT: Meze has since sent me new, larger, ear pads that have made these freaking incredible and was exactly what it needed to send it to a top tier product regardless of ones price. Now, as of this moment I'm unsure if the larger pads now come standard with purchase of the 99 Classics or if you have to purchase those separately. if available standard, the rating of this product will be escalated to a 5. If not the scoring will remain the same but with this note.
 
EDIT UPDATE: The larger earpads do in fact come standard with the Meze Headphones 99 Classics now.
    
                                                                                                                             20160321_211924_HDR.jpg
 
 
Sound
 
    Hey, looky here we finally made it to the important stuff, the sound quality. Arguably the most important aspect of an audio piece is how well does it not just reproduce the audio signal but how does it relay and appeal that to the listener?
    For those who know and share my tastes in audio (check out my about me if you don’t) will, like me, find great enjoyment out of the 99 Classics. The overall sound signature is beautifully warm and hits me in all the right places and REALLY give my BW P7 a run for their money of my favorite consumer priced headphone!
    The sense of depth is incredible especially for these to be closed back! They provide a nice lifelike sound that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price range) and the only thing I can contribute with this is the wooden back. But allow me to diverge this a little better so that you can better understand how I come up with this overview.
 
Treble
 
    The highs on these are pretty darn nice. They extend out but they do peak a little early. They reflect a lot of detail leaving me feeling satisfied and with plenty of energy. It is by no means at all fatiguing and in fact is quite relaxing. The only real downside I’ve found with the treble on the 99 Classics is that there’s a very notable dip in the mid to upper frequency range. It’s very small and doesn’t last long at all but it is very easily heard. Wanna hear it without having to focus on it? Play the song “Colour of the Moon” by Allan Taylor.
 
Mids
 
MIds are my personal favorite aspect of an audio piece for to me they represent the soul a given piece of gear possesses. The mids are where the vocals are and it’s the vocals that hold the artist's emotions and feelings that they’re trying to portray to the audience. I want to hear that, no, I want to feel that. And if a headphone doesn’t reproduce this range well then I’m left feeling empty and very unsatisfied with what I’m hearing.
When it comes to the 99 Classics I couldn’t have less of a complaint to make. The mid range is truly breathtaking throughout the entire range. The vocals have a realism to them that as I said earlier is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price point). I really feel as if the artist is singing to me personally in a comfortable jazz club setting with very nice acoustics. Regardless if it’s male or female vocals I’m listening to I’m provided a great sense of body with a very welcomed touch of warmth that without continuously rambling on, is something that I will truly miss when I send these off.
 
Bass
 
    The bass, the heartbeat of the music. This section is one that I’m most afraid of hearing for all too often a product will be almost spot on in every other category but because bass is what’s in right now they will pump up the thump to appeal that. Well, though bass is nice to have, I AM NOT a bass head and little turns me off quicker than an overly bass heavy thump machine that dilutes everything around it.
    This fortunately is not the case with the 99 Classics. These, though a slight bass emphasis, are very pleasant to listen to and have a very sensual presentation to its impact. The bass is well controlled but does possess an exaggerated decay that really meshes well with the overall signature of the headphone. The upper bass blends beautifully into the mid section and could be easily confused with each other.
 
                                                                                                     20160321_212543.jpg
 
 
 
Conclusion
 
    So to sum up my thoughts on the Meze Headphones 99 Classics. I really loved pretty much everything about these. They hit home to me in almost every aspect, the sound is exactly what I look for and has become one of my all time favorite headphones. The warmth they consistently provide in non fatiguing and always leave me longing for a repeat performance.
    The build quality is absolutely top notch and the no glue construction makes these very user serviceable and much sturdier. If properly taken care of I can easily see these lasting a user many MANY years.  
 
Also, don’t forget to check out my unboxing and review videos. As well as my 2016 Army-Firedawg product of the year video! I really appreciate it and let me know what you think, if the review helped you don’t forget to hit that thumbs up button. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
 
 
Army-Firedawg
Army-Firedawg
@stellablues Please do follow up (in PM preferably comments NEVER give me any notifications so it may be a while before I check) for I'd love to hear your take on them.
 
@Bansaku DUDE!!!!! Appreciate the insight that's very helpful, I'll update where I can with the info. But that's quite unfortunate though, I mean it's not super tight but it bending to the owners size is something I was looking forward too. BUT as I said it's not toooo much but JUST a little. 
Beagle
Beagle
Nice phones but the dodgy fit, overcooked bass and ringing metal headband take it out of the running for me
Army-Firedawg
Army-Firedawg
@Beagle That's unfortunate, I understand about the fit but hey not every headphones is everyone's glass of YooHoo (best strawberry mild ever of a personal side note). What kinda phones have you tried that you've really enjoyed?
Pros: Excellent build quality , good materials and assembly, warm sound with good detail
Cons: The pads is very hot after some times of useing and the sound losese impact with high volume
Meze 99 Classics is a very surprising headset !
When I received it a few days ago and I opened the box I was surprised by what he managed to do Meze especially knowing the selling price of this headset
The box was fantastic, the hard case, the little box with a pair of cable and some jacks, very very good
The 99 is not so little headset, and yes a portable headset but is one that is not possible to bend like many others on the market, the headband is a really surprise, the elastic control system for the head is very good, the wood pads are very well, a little small in my opinion and this is also because with the use I noticed that quite warm the ears
The headset is still very light and easy to carry
A very plus is the detachable cable, so you can take or use other cable and the other good news it’s that the cable uses a mini-jack to the pads
Here perhaps I preferred assets in the accessories also provided with a standard jack cable
We come to the sound , we say that is a headset that requires the famous burn in before playing them in a serious way. The sound after burn in changes significantly and becomes much more natural
This headset has a warm sound very amazing warm sound, but at the same time has a shade of high sound beautiful and detail, the mids are warm and natural , a wide sound stage for a closed headphone
For me it was a real surprise as sound for headphones in this category, sure can’t be a LCD-X category headset, but in his class of price is a really BEST !
The bass is not so deep like a LCD-X but is the best part of this headset, and It’s not so present as to overpower the rest of the sound and the division of the instruments is fairly clear-cut
All so positive ?
No, the perfect headset does not yet unfortunately , and this 99 I noticed that with the increase of the volume (Burson Virtuoso) lost a little in the presence of the sound, with increasing volume high frequencies take, for my taste, too much the upper hand and against the low frequencies tend to flatten slightly by losing body to the sound
The sound continues to be great anyway for that little baby, but still loses something
In conclusion, we say it is a headset built in great way, with a packaging and accessories supplied above average and that if used to listen to moderate / low volume will give you great satisfaction
GOOD work Meze !
Bansaku
Bansaku
Nice review. Question though, what do you consider moderate volume?
Amuro_Rey
Amuro_Rey
With my Burson Virtuoso a "moderate" volume is 20/22
After that the 99 lost a little of bass presence
My LCD-X can rise high till 35/38 and the sound continue to be "full", yes the LCD-X and the 99 is not to be compared
Pros: Great sound, relaxed, warm, not in the least fatiguing, yet detailed
Cons: Slight issues with overall build quality
Caveat: This is my first review. Meze has been so kind as to provide me with this headphone. I'm not professional, I'm not an audiophile, just an enthusiastic hobbyist who likes to listen to (mostly instrumental electronic) music. I'm also not an English native speaker. Sorry!
 
Well, with over 20 reviews, what is there to add? Not much, I'm afraid. By now, most of what's important about this headphone has been said and it's more a matter of underlining certain already well-covered aspects from my personal angle and experience.
 
First of all, I have headphones in my possession that are many times as expensive as the Meze 99 Classics which retail for $309,- at the moment (my Pioneer SE-Master 1 costs almost eight times as much), and I have to shamefully admit that, currently, I reach for the Meze more often than not, which is mainly due to two reasons:
 
  • This can rocks! Head-noddingly, foot-tappingly rocks! I found that after the first couple of minutes they just got out of the way and let me enjoy the music, probably more so than other, more scrutinizing 'phones which sometimes tempt me to listen to the headphone rather than the music. I happen to think that this is a great character trait for a listening device. Are they very neutral? Are they analytical? Not, rather veeeery smooth and therefore
     
  • I can listen to them hours and hours … and hours and hours … on end without experiencing any fatigue whatsoever, which is more than I can say for certain "flagship" phones (yes, I'm looking at you, Fostex TH-900!).
 
 
Sound
 
I found that the Meze 99 Classics strike just the right balance between warmth and detail. While the aforementioned headphones and others that I've heard like the infamous Sennheiser HD 800 indubitably offer better resolution and microdetail, they tend to achieve that effect at the cost of a certain warmth or smoothness, resulting in a sound that, broadly speaking, can at times be perceived as harsh. Not so the Meze: Its highs are smooth as peanut butter (well, the smooth kind, not the crunchy kind). If you, like me, are sensitive to high frequencies or even happen some kind of tinnitus which is aggravated by those, this can be a godsend!
The mids are just there (which I mean as compliment; there is nothing that bothers me in that section, nothing at all – neither do they feel overly recessed nor are they too present; just nothing off here), and the bass …
Mmm, that bass! It's very warm, almost cozy, like you can wrap yourself in it as you would in a soft, cuddly blanket. While I guess there is a slight mid-bass hump, they amount of bass (for me at least, and I like me some bass) is just right, and it never sounds aggressive or too muchn in-your-face. Now, it may not be as clean as that of the Fostex TH-900, for example, but again, that headphone costs five times as much and is renowned for its bass qualities, so you would expect some differences. I just mention it because I have it readily available. With the Meze, the texture can be a tad soft here and there, a little less sharply contoured and precise; it's almost as if the manufacturer's emphasis lay on a warm enveloping sound signature. Funnily enough, this does not disturbe me in the leat, but I guess it is something to be aware of. This headphone is certainly south of neutral, with a warm yet punchy sound sig. It's probably closer to mid-fi than to summit-fi, and if you're looking for absolute fidelity, well, I guess you'll have to keep looking, but to my ears, they sound agreeably warm and smooth with a very nice, solid bass foundation that fits my preferred music genre like a glove.
Also, don't get me wrong: The resolution the 99 Classics offer may not compete with some flagships out there, but even if it is not world class, it is certainly no less than great great among its price class:
 
 
(Very) Brief comparison
 
To compare it to two headphones in its own league, I like it better than the Ultrasone Pro 900 which, though having prodigious bass, can sound much more bright to the point of being annoying. Some swear by the Pro 900's soundstage, others not so much; I think this is due to Ultrasone's S-Logic technic working better for some listeners than for others. All in all, this aspect of the Pro 900 feels more finicky, while the 99 Classics are more relying and will just deliver in this regard.
At the other end of the spectrum, there is the Audioquest Nighthawk, which retails for as much as $599,- or thereabouts and also has a warm sound signature, but to the point of sounding closed-in, constricted, mushy, bloated and veiled to my ears, all of which the Meze just does not. So if you have been eyeing the Nighthawk, give the 99 Classics a try first, and you might be able to save some money and get a superior headphone with a similar signature that will not polarize as much. It's just great value for money.
 
 
Cons
 
Those have been tackled extensively as well: Yes, the cups are a little small, which does not bother me, however, since my ears fit in them without a problem and they're nonetheless comfortable enough for longterm use (and this is where I see them in my repertoire: as a great headphone for long sessions that just won't get uncomfortable, neither comfort-wise nor sound-wise).
My biggest issue by far are the cables. What's the problem? Well, let me put it this way: One comes with a microphone, both come with microphonics. I know this has been mentioned before, but even having read the previous reviews, I have to say that I was somewhat surprised by the degree to which this annoyed me. While I initially thought that this might be a great can to use on the go, I'm not so sure anymore, since even sitting down I'm somewhat bothered by the sounds the cable makes during quiet music passages when I turn my head and it chafes on my sweater, for example. This will happen alle the more easily since the connectors are not angled but directed in a way that they're pointing straight down so that contact with one's body/clothes is almost inevitable. Also, tapping on the headband while wearing the headphone will make it resonate very audibly. While this is something that is less likely to happen IRL, the cable microphonics are really bothersome and an alternative solution should be found. It's quite a shame really, since the Meze's sound is so very enjoyable otherwise.
All in all, I have to take these issues in consideration when judging the build quality of this headphone and say that while I am impressed by the sound, I'm not with the overall quality. There are also some minor chips in the wood, but since I haven't reveived the 99 Classics fresh out of the box, I cannot judge on how they have been treated before being relaeses into my care and how easily this will happen.
 
 
Summary
 
All in all, this is a very enjoyable, very comfortable headphone with great sound -- relaxed, warm, not in the least fatiguing, yet detailed --, great value for money and unfortunately less than stellar build quality, but still very decent for what you pay. If you don't plan to take it outside, I'd wholeheartedly recommend that you take a listen to this fine creation by Meze.
 
*This being my first review, I'd be very open to and grateful for any suggestions and criticism. Thanks, everybody!*
Pros: Beautiful visual design First class construction materials natural sonics
Cons: Ear cups could be a little bigger for full over the ear effect
I'm not an absolutist.  I think a product should be reviewed from the view point of claims made for the product and the value that in represents to the user.
 
Judging  the Mezze 99 Classics on those factors It's a purely outstanding product offering.  If your the kind of person that likes to read the first two lines of a review then hop over to the Meze site and give them your hard earned cash.  You wont be sorry.
 
Want some more torture?  Please read on.
 
I always get a big charge out of the unboxing Videos on YouTube.  They seem to be a voyeuristic guilty pleasure, kind of shoppers porno.  I wouldn't usually include packaging in a review for a product but I think Meze's packaging for the Classic 99 is well done.  I'm often a "B" stock buyer I think the company has had a second chance at making the product right so as you can see the white "B" box can work for me.
Classic99boxfront.jpg
 
Box Front   Simple classic
Classic99boxback.jpg

I think the line at the bottom of the back of the Box tells the story " Perfect natural sound Perfect natural Fit" 
Classic99caseinbox.jpg
The nicely done zippered semi-hard head phone storage case that contains the Meze 99 classic's and accessories.  The accessories come in a convenient separate zippered case
 
classic99incase.jpg
Meze99Acc.jpg
The accessories pouch contains both wires standard and one with a microphone and remote control.  Airplane adapter and 1/4 inch head phone adapter.
 
The package with the Meze Classic 99 is first rate.  So is the construction of the headphones.  Made with metal and wood they have a natural and substantial feel to them. 
Classic99sideview.jpg
Classic99headband.jpg
Classic99frontview.jpg

All you have to do is grab the ear cups spread the spring steel tension bars and place them on your ears and your ready to listen.  Comfortable, simple, with just the right tension. I have large ears so they touch my ear lobes but I don't find it objectionable.  Would it be better if my lobes fit inside.  Yes but this isn't a deal breaker for me.  I have several hours of listening to them under my belt and I find them comfortable.
 
After all this I'm sure you're asking " Swnger for heavens sake what the heck do these things sound like?" 
 
I don't have a desk full of Amps Headphones DACs but have decided to do the listening with a simple rig that you can put together for under $1000 including the Meze Classic 99.
Classic99testrig.jpg

The test rig consists of the Meze Classic 99 $309 , The Fiio X5 2nd Gen $349 and The Fiio K5 desk top amp and docking station $110  total $768
 
I've been an audiophile since 1983 and one thing I've learned is that lots of audio gear gives you very little sonic improvement for extreme dollars.  I'm a vinyl guy with over 1000 Eps that I have ported over to Hi Rez in the last 10 years.  I also have an extensive collection on CD and Hi Rez downloads.  That being said I'm all about the music and not a total gear head.
 
To prepare  the Meze Classic 99 for this review a burned in the headphones with over 40 hours of pink noise that I got from the Dr.Chesky  ultimate headphone Demo down load. Those 40 hours were torture.  I wanted to play with my new toy. Finally the moment of truth arrived and I put the Meze Classics over my ears and I started:
 
First selection was Chilly Gonzales  " Chambers"  Piano and strings on tap.  Natural' engaging with clean attack and decay on both the strings and piano.  Satisfying acoustic realism. Showed Chilly's special touch on the piano delicate with an underling sense of power.
 
Ella and Louis were up next.  Ella's voice like cream Louis voice like gravel on "Can't we be Friends" So strong mid range. Louis trumpet sole clean clear. lovely upper mid range.
"Under a blanket of blue"  good drive in the bass line solid.  Mid bass good.
 
How about James Browns " Mans world"  Good separation in the complex back ground so good definition  "Make it Funky" Super reproduction on the funky bass line. Hammond organ shuffling nicely.
 
Daf Punk "Lose yourself to dance"  Solid dance bass line,  Channel  good separation for EDM .  Guitar drive very clean.
 
John Barry "Diamonds are forever"  If your looking to see how things handle horns James Bond is the place to look.  The Meze Classic 99 handle the dynamics of this album very well. The strings and lush full and resolved..  The waltz "Circus Circus "  shows the violin and bells with good treble.
 
Lets go for deep sub bass.  Boys Noize  Octave Mind  electronica deep bass hard for any thing to reproduce.  very well done can feel it in the tip of my toes.
 
In Conclusion
$309 No brainer.  I think the Meze Classic 99 punches well above its weight class in every way.  Like I said in line two it's a buy it.
Bansaku
Bansaku
Nice objective review! Too bad you are a "pink noise" type of guy. Personally I enjoy hearing the transformation of the sound during burn-in.
swnger
swnger
I'm not a total Pink noise guy, but last week was busy and I wanted to give the headphones a fair review.  So Pinked them.  Made a nice improvement in the sonics from when I took them out of the box. Yes I would have liked to hear the progression.
Pros: punchy midbass, open midrange, fleshed out vocals, reasonably good clarity
Cons: over-emphasized midbass, tonal balance not completely neutral
Summary
The Meze 99 classics is an interesting headphone. So often I hear people characterize a headphone as fun, and I usually object to that characterization. After all, shouldn't all headphones be fun to listen to? But in this case I believe 'fun' is a perfect word to describe the Meze 99. Whether you like them or not is going to depend on your expectation. If you are looking for a neutral audiophile headphone with perfect tonal balance and absolute clarity, then look elsewhere. These headphones will not provide an 'audiophile' experience. But before I go more into the sound lets touch on some other points.
 
Boxing and Packaging
The box is not overly fancy but it is easy to access everything you need and easy to open and close. Within the box is the headphone case. At first, I thought the shape to be a bit odd. But it holds the headphones secure and comfortably, as well as the cables and other accessories. I think the packaging, therefore, strikes the proper balance of form and function. More extravagant and the price would probably start to rise.
 
Ergonomics and general appearance.
I'm a fan of wood headphones. I own many. It's really a matter of taste. The look of the headphone is good enough, but not quite my taste. That said, the quality of the build appears to be very good. The headphone I tried had no creeks, the wood appears to be real, and the fit and finish is excellent.
 
I do like my headphone cups to swivel just a bit and the design of the Meze does not allow for that, though there is enough flex in the metal support portion of the headband to allow for a snug fit, without exhorting too much clamping pressure.
 
When I place the headphone over my head I must pull the cups downward slightly each time for proper coverage over my ears. There is no memory with this design. One other comment. The headphone does not have a left and right channel per se. It is symmetric so the way you connect the cable will determine left and right channels. I do not see that as a positive or negative, I'm just attempting to be thorough in my description. What I do perceive in a slightly negative way is the pad size. As many have pointed out, the pads are not really over the ear. I consider my ears pretty average in size and while the headphone is not uncomfortable, the opening in the pads does not surround my ears. The headphone sits over top part of my ear lobes.
 
The Sound
I would characterize the overall sound to be bottom up ...that is, more focused on the mid to lower frequencies. The midrange is open sounding and the overall balance of frequencies feel pretty cohesive in the way they blend.
 
Bass
The bass is not neutral in quantity. There is a bass emphasis. I would describe the bass as full sounding, if not a slight bit plump. It is extremely punchy and of good quality. It also goes pretty deep, but certainly not the deepest I've heard. I feel the mid-bass is reasonably tight and tuneful, and I don't necessarily feel that it bleeds into the mid-range, though I could see where some may disagree.  I do feel, however, that depending on the music, the bass/mid-bass can overpower the other frequencies a bit. For example, on Godsmack (pretty much any album of theirs) where you have deep drum hits in combination with bass guitar and other lower frequencies the midbass appears to be too much and can rob the headphone of some clarity. I am no basshead, but I must admit the punchiness of the bass/mid-bass is something to behold and respect.
 
Midrange
The midrange is neither dark or bright (certainly not shouty). But I do feel there is an emphasis in the midrange. If you like a somewhat forward sound and you like fully fleshed out vocals, you will be pleased with the midrange of the Meze. It does vocals pretty well, though if you are sensitive to coloration you may be slightly less pleased. I myself like fully fleshed out vocals and enjoyed that aspect of the Meze. Because of the quantity and character of the midbass I feel the headphone is on the warm side.  But the midrange is open and possesses slightly forward vocals.  This provides a nice degree of clarity ….that is until the midbass becomes overbearing. Of course, many songs don't have lots of midbass and when that's the case the midbass is not prevalent so the midbass does not always overpower the midrange. It really depends on the music. While I cannot exactly put my finger on it, I would say that the upper mids start to fade into a treble that is less pronounced than the other frequencies. More on the treble in a minute.
 
Clarity
This headphone is reasonably clear sounding in all frequencies. But, in absolute terms, I certainly would not describe the headphone as crystal clear. In fact, I think from a driver technology standpoint, I suspect the driver is not the clearest or cleanest. There are probably many headphones, even at this pricepoint, that could compete in detail retrieval and clarity. The forward more intimate and fleshed out vocals help to paint the illusion of clarity. But other frequencies may be partially masked by this subtle coloration. I don't want to leave folks with the impression that the headphone is not clear. It is satisfyingly clear, but it certainly does not rival the best in this regard. Incidentally, in addition to vocals, I believe the Meze does piano pretty good.
 
My Comparisons
While I am it, I should have mentioned something. I'm an audiophile. I appreciate many different perspectives. I like warmer headphones, brighter ones, neutral ones, and others that might be defined as euphonic, but my preference is for a natural sound that is full-bodied, rich, impactful, and clear. I probably prefer a slightly brighter upper midrange and I do not like “V” shaped sound. I prefer neutrality overall, and possibly a slightly forward midrange with a slight sparkle in the treble. Tonal balance and cohesiveness through out the frequency spectrum is important to me. Furthermore, I do not like a 'dry' sound. When I do a compare headphones, I disregard price. So as I am comparing the Meze, please realize that I am comparing it to my standards and to the absolute best headphones I have heard. I have heard many of the flagships and I am not taking price into consideration when I comment on the Meze.
 
Ok, on to a discussion of treble...
 
The treble does not call attention to itself. I don't necessarily feel the treble lacking in quantity or rolling off but I don't hear that sparkle either. I believe between the mids and the treble, the headphone lacks a bit of 'air'. That said, I find the treble to be easy to listen to and of reasonably good quality. It's just not as forward as the other frequencies.
 
Texture and Timbre
Not exceptional, but not bad either. I was pleased, though I wasn't necessarily as musically engaged listening to the headphone as some others. I find sometimes I feel like that when the headphones lacks life-like realism. So while I enjoyed the punchiness (some of the punchiest midbass I've heard) and the open and forward mids, I think the slight lack of resolving power and slightly unnatural tonal balance, for me, detracted from the enjoyment just a bit. But again, I feel compelled to point out that my preferences are my own and others looking for different traits may be very pleased. In a nutshell, I think texture and timbre of voices and instruments is very good, and enjoyable but not quite as good as the best 'audiophile' headphones I've heard.
 
Soundstage / Imaging
The soundstage is a reasonable size. It did not leave me wanting. It's not the smallest or largest I've heard. If anything it added to the enjoyment rather than being a negative. Imaging was also fairly precise and I have no complaints in this area.
 
 
Disclaimer, Music and Equipment
I saved this for last, but if you are interested and still reading I thought I'd share a little bit. I listen to all kinds of music. I listen to dance, jazz, easy listening, rock, classic rock, and orchestral. My experience for this review is based on a loaner I received. I do not own the Meze headphones and have been guaranteed nothing, except the opportunity to hear them in an exchange for my honest review. So my listening time has been limited to about a week, or slightly less. I did listen to all kinds of music during this time. I enjoyed all types through the Meze but I do not feel I listened sufficiently to provide credible in-depth analysis of what genres work best for the headphone. I think it's fair to say that my opinions were present, regardless of genre.
 
For the headphone amps, I used Grado Labs, JDS Labs, the Cavalli Liquid Carbon, a Behringer DAC/headphone output, a Denon DCD 1290 CD player and an Emotiva CD player. I used both balance and single ended as the source. I cannot recall with certainty, but I believe I also used my MicroZotl 2 tube amplifier. As you can tell, I did not take studious notes while listening. I do not log the songs and minutes and seconds as I know some do. I try to enjoy myself while listening and so my impressions are based on my overall listening experience to the headphones.
 
Would I buy these?
I think these headphones are an excellent value. I did enjoy listening to them, but at this point my preferences are such that they wouldn't be on the top of my list of headphones to purchase. That said, they have distinct qualities that would make a great addition to my stable of headphones and I would not hesitate to recommend this headphone to others so long as they understand going into the purchase that this is not an 'audiophile' $1000+ headphone. If you like midbass punch, strong midbass, an open midrange with good clarity, and fully fleshed out vocals and a forward midrange, then I have no doubt this headphone will be just what you are looking for and should bring years of satisfying listening pleasure.
 
My rating and experience with other headphones
I mentioned that when rating headphones I am basing my criteria in absolute terms. I would say these Meze Classics deliver great value. But in absolute terms I would rate them 3.5 stars. I would reserve 4 stars for the more audiophile phones (not necessarily correlating to cost) that deliver neutrality and excel on most all attributes I find important. Most all headphones are imperfect so very few would receive anything above 4.5 stars from me. I reserve the 5 star rating for those headphones that provide a near perfect match to my tastes.
reddog
reddog
A good review, lots of information, I especially like your views on the bass and mid bass.
Pros: Excellent build quality, very easy to drive, balanced natural sound, dynamic and extremely smooth treble.
Cons: Earcups a bit too small for larger ears. Mediocre comfort for larger heads and ears.
Meze 99 Classics Review
 
The Meze 99 Classics was sent to me as part of the review tour. Impressions of the headphone are based on a week of use. They are a headphone I've been curious about trying and seeing how they sound, the Meze 99 Classics sounded better than I ever expected. I tried the Meze on a variety of gear from my Sony UDA-1, Project Sunrise III(Toshiba D-getter 12AU7 tubes), Hifiman EF2A(6A5K GE tubes), Creative E5, and straight out of the iPad. The headphones I owned at the time of having the Meze 99's in house were the Audioquest Nighthawks, Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Limited Edition, and the Sennheiser HD 650. I'm not really going to directly compare this headphone to them but rather just use them as a baseline in describing the Meze 99 Classics sound. The more in-depth aspects of the sound I may not fully describe properly as it has been a bit of time since I listened to them. Note: Sorry about lack of pictures and mediocre picture quality in this review, forget to back up all of my pictures. 
 
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Build:
 
The build quality of the Meze 99 Classics is excellent, didn't see any plastic parts on the actual headphone itself, just metal, wood, and what I think is some sort of faux leather. The headband is self-adjusting like that found in AKGs and headphones like the Audioquest Nighthawk. There is no designation of right or left on the headphone so it all depends on what end of the cable is plugged into each earcup. The earcups are solid walnut, making it one of the better valued wooden headphones out there. I honestly wish there were more wooden headphones out there. The build has a nice feel and feels sturdy. Overall I would rate the build and quality of build very highly, somewhere between the HD 650 and the Audioquest Nighthawks(these being sturdier and more substantial feeling in the hands).
 
Comfort:
 
This is honestly where I find this headphone falls short for many people. Comfort was one problem I had with this headphone, the earcups were simply too small for my ears and thus rested on the outer part of my ears which caused discomfort after about 30 minutes, I also have a larger head than many people which made this a bit worse for me personally. Though changing the earcups will likely also affect the sound signature in a way that may hurt it's excellent tuning. People with smaller heads and ears shouldn't have problems with the comfort. I have found after spending a few days with them I got used to their comfort though.
 
Drivability:
 
These headphones are extremely easy to drive, in fact the easiest to drive of any headphone I've tested, in fact they sound really good directly out of my iPad Air 2, so much so I don't really feel the need for dedicated amplification for the Meze 99 Classics. 
 
Sound Quality:
 
This is the main focus of the review. Do they sound good? Yes, they sound very good and well worth their asking price. Of all my headphones, they sound the most like the Sennheiser HD 650, actually oddly similar in their tuning but also a bit different. They are full-bodied and warm sounding overall with nice punchy dynamics and good imaging. They are also very musical and euphoric making music listening a joy. The headphone is very well balanced and quite well extended in both the bass and the treble. Nothing really comes off as offensive or bothers me about it's sound.
 
Treble:
 
The treble on the Meze 99 Classics is neither too dark or too bright, they balance the treble out just right. The treble is articulate and quite refined. What struck out to me is the utter lack of excessive sibilance in the headphone, having heard headphones with similar levels of brightness I was expected to be hit by some mild sibilance around the level found on the HD 600. In fact they are one of the least sibilant headphones I've ever heard. Reminded me some of vintage headphones in this aspect, but without sounding old like a vintage headphone.
 
Midrange:
 
The midrange is very smooth and has excellent timbre and tone, simply the best midrange I've heard on a portable headphone. The midrange had a strangely addicting tone to it I really enjoyed and honestly miss. Vocals are smooth with good body and focus. A minor quibble I have found is that on some systems the upper midrange can have a slight nasally tone, but this is system dependent and likely fit dependent as well. There is no sense of hollowness in the sound of this headphone.
 
Bass:
 
The bass on the Meze 99 Classics is well extended and is quite punchy, doesn't quite have the extension of some headphones, but I can hear plenty low and the sub-bass can hit when called for. Seems to have a bit of a mid-bass emphasis, but not too much. The bass is one of the ways I find it the most different than the HD 650, it's more intimate and not as big sounding. And has a different tone to it, hard for me to describe, but I enjoyed it's bass presentation.
 
Soundstage/Imaging:
 
The soundstaging and imaging is very good on the Meze 99 classics, while the soundstage is on the smaller side, it's fully articulate and has good focus, things never sound cluttered on the soundstage despite it's intimate presentation. You will hear most everything on these you hear on the HD 650 for example just in a smaller and more close-up manner. 
 
Final Thoughts:
 
The Meze 99 Classics are simply one of the best portable headphones I've ever heard and are an excellent value for their sound, build quality, and looks. I am a sucker for wooden headphones and am heavily considering getting myself a pair in the future. I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking for an excellent closed-back portable headphone that is very easy to drive to the point where extra amps, etc. are not really needed with these. This makes them a tremendous value due to how easy they are to drive and their sound quality directly from portable devices, making them the most viable portable headphone I've used as everything else I tried required an external amp to show what they are capable of even if the headphone is supposed to be easy to drive. I was genuinely impressed with these headphones, I was expecting just a mediocre headphone but when I plugged them in and played music, a smile came across my face.
Bocefuss4500
Bocefuss4500
liked the review .. now little worried about buying a pair have big head but small ears ...
Frederose
Frederose
How would you compare the bass to your DT990s ?
kman1211
kman1211
@Frederose I actually found the bass a bit similar in character, the DT 990 has a bit more emphasis in the bass though, I have the Limited Edition DT 990 which has the black pads though which change the sound a little from the stock one. Sadly I don't have the Meze 99 to compare with it anymore and I don't listen to my DT 990 much, so comparison are kind of hard.
Pros: Design, overall sound signature
Cons: Controversial Ear Pads, Microphonics
If you would have asked me a couple of months ago about Meze (I’ve read it is pronounced meh-zeh) I would have thought you were referencing a Sci-Fi character I’ve never heard of. To spite the fact that Meze has been around since at least 2009, they certainly haven’t been a household name, nor have I read much about them here or on any other audio website. After hearing the Classic 99s, I’d say that’s about to change (at the very least here on Head-Fi).
 
Meze has created a simply beautiful (IMO) headphone with a MSRP of $309 (USD).I don’t often refer to the esthetics of headphones. I generally don’t care too much what it looks like; I care more about the sound. Looks are subjective anyway. But with the Meze, I feel I must touch on the looks for a second. Subjective or not, these headphones visually tic all the right boxes for me. From the wood, to the lines of the headband arch and the shape of the holes for the cable connectors on the ear cups, everything is just visually pleasing to me. The gold is not as flashy “in person” as they seem in photos, but if that is still not your style, there are 3 other options (different wood, white trim, silver accents etc.) available on their website (https://www.mezeheadphones.com/headphones).
 
The materials used in creating the Classics are a welcome departure from the plastic world in which we live. Real wood and metal are used, and everything is replaceable down to the tiniest screw. From their website: “Besides the usual warranty everybody is offering we guarantee that the 99's are endlessly serviceable if any parts would ever need to be replaced because we built these headphones to last”. Thankfully, even though these are constructed with wood & metal, the headphones are relatively light, weighing 290 grams (approx. 10.3 ounces).
 
 I have had no problem at all comfort wise, other than my ears getting a little hot occasionally, which I’ve experienced with every over ear headphone. They weight is well distributed, and the pressure is fine for my small to medium sized head, though I can see the potential for larger noggins to experience some discomfort. If your experience is different, the metal frame seems pliable enough to stretch or compact as needed (of course I did not experiment as these are a review pair and I found them to be comfortable enough as is). The ears pads, although on the small size, fit fine over my ears, and were comfortable enough to be forgotten once the music started.
 
 I feel as though I have to give a little more attention to the ear pads, since many reviews have more to say about them than how the headphones actually sound. Lots of manufacturers use ear pads that both fit over the ear (on most people), yet still rest on the outer portion, and the Meze are one of these headphones. This is obviously an intentional design choice, whether it’s to have the headphone be as portable as possible, or to help create a better seal around the ear for better noise isolation, there are lots of examples of this design choice. As divisive as these ear pads are, I was impressed to learn that the Meze team is listening, and working on addressing this issue. They are constantly trying to better their products, and responded to my inquiry as follows: “…we take headfi reviewers feedback very seriously and will do our best to perfect every detail that can be improved with every production batch we release.” Well done.
 
Before I offer my listening impressions, I’ll start with a little about myself. I’m pushing 50 and have less than perfect hearing (50 is pushing back). I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember, and I learned to listen a little more critically during the few years I sold audio equipment (and I continue to learn the more I listen). My fascination/infatuation with headphones began about 4 years ago, and has only gotten stronger. The majority of my listening was done listening to FLAC, WAV & various MP3s with my Shanling M3, Fiio x3 (1st gen.) or through my HP all in one PC and Audioquest Dragonfly. My tastes are fairly eclectic, but my listening centered on classic rock, folk, jazz, classical and some of the genres of EDM (dubstep? electro house? I can’t differentiate it, but it is enjoyable). I didn’t bother with burning in the headphones since this is a review pair and probably already have a few hundred hours on them, nor did I hear any difference throughout my evaluation.
 
Isolation is about average for a closed back headphone, muting outside noise but not totally blocking it out. The metal frame I found to be highly microphonic (or is it prone to microphonism?) and the cable did as well, although to a lesser extent. Even with music playing at reasonable volumes, some sound can intrude, giving a small measure of situational awareness outdoors, however I did almost all of my listening at home. I never felt the need for more amplification during my time with the Meze, even when I briefly tested them through my cellphone (Samsung Galaxy Core Prime) and my old 512 MB SanDisk Sansa. Both were able to drive the 99 Classics to unsafe listening levels, but I found that they  scale well. The better the DAC, the better the files, the better they sang.
 
And sing they did. This was another example of a headphone that grew on me the more I listened. Not that they didn’t grab me on first listen…I’d say they did. It’s just that I usually find myself drawn to headphones with more neutral bass. The Meze have a “fun” mid bass hump that doesn’t stray too far from neutral to be bothersome. In fact I found the bass to be engaging almost to the point of being distracting from the other things the Meze can do (but not quite). Especially on well recorded Rock & other genres of music that have a driving bass line, the bass simply demands attention, and for me it was not unwelcome. It upped the enjoyment factor and I was surprised how much I was digging the presentation.
 
 I wouldn’t call these basshead cans, though. Looking at the graph from Innerfidelity (http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/MezeClassic99.pdf ) there is a roll off starting about 50 Hz (more steeply rolling after 40 Hz). At first, I wasn’t able to clearly hear anything lacking, mostly because there isn’t a lot of music with bass that low. I’m sure there are some that will clearly hear the difference with the lowest notes of an Organ Concerto, but my musical preferences don’t include a lot of sub bass oriented music. I thought I could just discern a subtle difference when listening to deadmau5 and Fatali comparing them to the Sennheiser Momentum (1st gen.), but that could be me tricking myself, and I found those tracks no less pleasurable through the Classic 99s.  
 
The midrange of the Meze is clear and doesn’t sound to be effected by the bass. There does seem to be a slight elevation in the upper mid-range, but I found this to be very track dependent. I don’t think it’s a matter of male vs. female vocals, so much as how the track was recorded. Vocals with less mid-range presence sound natural and well balanced. The mids never called attention to themselves when listening to Boston, Rush, or Vanessa Carlton. Live recordings, Opera and Binaural recordings also had no evidence of mid-range elevation. However, on certain pop recordings (Sia, Shel, Joe Bonamassa come to mind) where the vocals are a bit more prominent in the mix, they sounded a tad too forward, or at least more forward than I’m used to. I also noticed this was most evident when listening to lower bit rate file (MP3s). For me this was never too bothersome, and did help with intelligibility on some older recordings.
 
The highs I found to be detailed and well enough extended with high hats & cymbals sitting further back in the mix than my personal preference would dictate. For instance, in Crystal Bowersox’s title track from Farmer’s Daughter, just before the bass kicks in the splash cymbals are just a touch more recessed than I like, but I accustomed myself to the difference fairly quickly. Soundstage I found to be above average for a closed back headphone, wider than any I own, with decent depth and height (I never feel it to be fair to compare soundstage between closed and open backed headphones).
I have been asked to do a comparison between these and some of the other closed back headphones I have. The only headphones I have that (I think) warrant a comparison would be the Sennheiser Momentum (I have the 1st gen.), being in a similar price bracket (the original MSRP. was $349 USD.). I’ll start by saying these are general impressions only, I did all channel balancing by ear, and the Meze are definitely more sensitive than the Senns, so getting the levels right was a challenge. If I erred I always tried to give the Senns the volume advantage, and this is obviously in no way scientific, but this is what I heard.
 
The bass on the Sennheiser seems to go a bit deeper and has more of an emphasis with just about everything I played, so you can say I find the Momentums to be more “V” shaped in their sound signature. The mids on the Senns have more of a wooly quality and seem more distant than on the Meze, making the Momentums bass sound a bit more thick and impactful, whereas I found the Meze to be tighter and more articulate overall in the bass and clearer in the midrange. The treble between the two was surprisingly similar with a good amount of detail and extension in both. Soundstage was wider and deeper when listening to the Meze, with similar height, and the Meze are more comfortable to me, too. For a relative newcomer to the headphone world, I’d say Meze knocked this one outta da park.
 
So the bottom line is: I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Meze Classics 99, even though these don’t have what I usually find to be my preferred sound signature. Once I let my ears settle into what the Meze can do, I found myself more & more looking forward to listening, not for evaluation, but for pleasure.  I’d say Meze has made a headphone that doesn’t just fit into the (already competitive) price point they’re in; I’d say they stand out. They are a most welcome surprise, indeed.
 
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reddog
reddog
A sweet review, lots of good information, especially the comparison between the Meze and the Momentum.
jinxy245
jinxy245
Thank you, everyone!
@gargani surprisingly enough, the Meze have the larger earcups.
 
In Tyll's review on Innerfidelity, he gave the measurement's for a few different popular headphones:
 
Meze 99 Classic, 45mm x 55mm;
 
Oppo PM3, 35mm x 60mm;
 
NAD VISO HP50, 35mm x 65mm;
 
Focal Spirit Professional, 37mm x 50mm;
 
Master & Dynamic MH40, 35mm x 60mm;
 
Bowers & Wilkins P7, 35mm x 60mm;
 
Sennheiser Momentum, 30mm x 55mm 
 
He didn't specify, but I thing the Momentum is for the 1st generation.
gargani
gargani
Thanks for the measurements.
Pros: "full sized portables" build quality, design language, sound signature
Cons: slight garishness in looks but not tone, slightly shallow earcups, slightly suppressed treble.

MEZE 99 CLASSICS REVIEW
 
Best Romanian Export Since Dracula.
 
 
Romania is best known for its cloudy Carpathian topography and its misty Transylvanian mythology. But there is nothing unclear about it’s latest export, the Meze 99 Classics headphones.
 
Technical reviews of these phones abound on headfi so I am going to limit myself to personal impressions. I was loaned a pair by Team Meze as part of their Euro tour and forwarded them to the next recipients without favour in the black casket provided.
 
Context
A Romanian folk hero by the name of Mr Vlad Impaler was reputed to suck the blood out of unsuspecting visitors but the good people of Meze have designed a pair of quality headphones that demand only £240 in travellers’ cheques. That’s Master & Dynamic MH40 / Kef M500 money at the more sublime end of the getting blood out of a stone business and Dr Dre’s BEATS / Bose Quiet Comfort at the more ridiculous end.
 
So I’m judging the Meze offering to the hifi gods within these parameters and frankly, they are a bit of a steal at that price.
 
Build
The 99 Classics are mesmerizingly beautifully put together headphones – see my pix -  from a distance and, close up, there are no horrors in the sturdy design whatsoever. OK. The ‘gold’ fittings are a tad short of tasteful but there are silver and walnut or white and walnut options should you choose to be slightly more discrete. In fact, the satin finished wood grain earcups are spellbindingly good quality for this kind of stake.
 
The phones are also light for a full size wooden design although the cups are slightly on the shallow side but this makes them an even better option for portable listening. No coffin up for heavy cases (sorry) here either as they come with a sleek semi-hard carry case that will fit in any travel holdall.  Interchangeable cables also make for atypical longevity in use on the go or under cover of darkness.
 
So as a portable offering, the Meze are built for the best part of your average eternal life; almost but not quite immortal.
 
Supporting the idea that these phones will not be joining the undead any time soon, are the lack of plastics and zinc alloy and steel construction that allow for replaceable body parts throughout their lifetime. And Kevlar cables ensure a surreal connection day in night out.
 
Fellow travellers / commuters will find it hard to avert their gaze as the Classics allow prolonged and unamplified listening from a 32ohm impedence and 103db sensitivity. And a dead weight of only 260grams ensures a sudden pain in the neck will not follow.
 
But how do they sound?
Imagine Justine Bieber as a wolf howling at the moon… Unfortunately, on the Meze 99s Justin Bieber will sound pretty much like Justin Bieber.
 
Yes these phones are accurate, offering an only slightly ethereal take on a no man’s land neutral sound signature. If a see-saw represents a flatline then imaging it slightly raised at the bass end and slightly lowered at the treble end and neutral in the middle. Yes this is a slightly two dimensional sound picture and that is what the Meze 99 Classics deliver.
 
For an almost on ear design that is truly portable, this is actually a compliment rather than a criticism and, in my opinion, their performance exceeds portable offerings by B&W and Beyer. Genuinely, a sound signature to get your teeth into.
 
Add a more than decent soundstage, vocals that are in no way unnatural and you have phones to go that are good. Dead good.
 
Power requirements are easily met; my AK120 Titan provided a match made in heaven – or a slightly darker version of it. Run through a desktop system, the Meze needed little or no effort to deliver unexpectedly good cut through from a Yulong A28 Sabre.
 
Conclusion
An only slightly unreal sound signature shrouded in an almost immortal build quality makes the Meze 99 Classics an irresistible deal, carriage included.
 
If you disagree, bite me!
 
albaman
 
 
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albaman
albaman
Hi everybody, just one detail to correct. I intended to give these 'phones four stars but seem to have managed to split the fourth star. Anyone know how to correct?
albaman
albaman
Duly corrected!
Pros: Incredibly stylish, Great sound, Awesome sound stage for a closed headphone, Build quality
Cons: Some small comfort issues, but at this point this is just nitpicking.
INTRODUCTION
 
I first heard about Meze last year, but only recently found out they are a small team of Romanians just like me.
Needless to say, that really sparked my interest, as Romania is not known for anything other than Dracula.
I started looking into this pair of headphones and i saw that the reviews they got were very good. So when i heard that Meze is organizing a review tour in Europe I got really pumped up.
I am by no means an audiophile, I would consider myself to be an enthusiast at most. I have a few pairs of headphones that i got to compare these to, and I was very impressed with their sound quality.
The other headphones i own are : Sony MDR-1R, Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear, Sennheiser HD 600 and the Bowers & Wilkins P7.
My favorite pair of headphones out of the bunch were the B&W P7, but that quickly changed after I gave a listen to the Meze.
 
DISCLAIMER
 
I am by no means affiliated with the Meze brand or any of the team members. These headphones were sent to me as part of the European review tour that Meze has organized.
This is my first review, and as you will see down bellow, I'm not very good at writing reviews. So it goes without saying that I didn't receive any compensation whatsoever to write this review.
 
ABOUT ME
 
As I stated previously, I am by no means a true audiophile, I'm just an audio enthusiast.
I own some pair of headphones (Sony MDR-1R, Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear, Sennheiser HD 600 and the Bowers & Wilkins P7), and I had a chance to listen to many more since this virus got into me. I reached to the point where I was able to determine what was my preferred sound-signature, and what I'm expecting from a pair of headphones all around. 
I got eclectic taste in music, so I enjoy listening to anything from Classical music to EDM, depending on my mood. I determined that I like headphones with a little emphasis on the low-end and high-end side. I know a true audiophile looks for a neutral sounding headphones, but that it's just not my style. That's why my favorite pair of headphones so far were the B&W P7. 
 
FIRST ENCOUNTER
 
I was sitting at my desk while working, and I remember exactly how it went because I had a very ****ty day at work. It was about 11 AM when the courier called me to let me know I need to pick a parcel.
I was expecting the headphones to come, but i still couldn't help myself at acting like a child on Christmas Eve.
Needless to say, I went and picked the package. Proceeded cutting through the carton, and then it hit me : The beautiful box containing the Meze 99 Classics!
Now saying that the unboxing experience was nice would be an understatement. It was incredible. I'm a sucker for unboxings, but still, the box and the contents are so nicely packed that you cannot help yourself from enjoying it.
The box contains a hard shell case, that for some reason it's reminiscent of a Lamborghini. Upon opening the case, you are prompted with the most beautiful pair of headphones in existence (I may exaggerate a bit, but they are definitely the most beautiful pair of headphones I have used). Also within a small cloth container you find one small wire for portable use, a longer one, a 1/4 inch adapter and a plane adapter. Basically, you get everything you need in the box.
It took a full minute of admiring these beauties until I laid my hands on them. I was struck about the sturdiness of this piece of engineering. The wooden cups look and feel amazing, and the headphones although are not heavy, they feel consistent.
I put them on my head and I was surprised about how well the headband adjusting mechanism works. They fit perfectly, and at first they seemed to be very comfortable. I started to feel some comfort issues a bit later, but i'll get into that a bit later.
 
SOUND
 
I guess that by this point you know that i didn't work at all for the rest of the day (Special thanks to my boss who understands what a big child I am).
 
Step 1. 
I plugged the headphones into my Iphone, and got a little disorientated when I couldn't find a left/right mark on the cup. It took a few seconds until I realized that the cable is the one who denotes left from right, so you can plug the cable as you please (I find this thing to be way more interesting than it actually is).
 
Step 2.
Proceeded going through my playlist.
 
Step 3.
Be freaking amazed!
I was struck abut the beautiful sound these things produce. 
I started out with some classical music, and I was very impressed. First thing you'll notice is the wide sound-stage for a closed headphone (please don't hit me, but I believe them to have a sound-stage almost as good as the open HD600). They are very good at imaging sounds "all around your head". The violin being my favorite instrument, I was really impressed about the sweet highs that were pouring through my ears while listening to Paganini. Not at all were the highs fatiguing. 
Now I would love to be a novelist and be able to write a fancy description worthy of these headphones, but I'm more of a numbers person myself.
There's nothing I can say that would make this headphones justice. So i'll let the other more experienced reviewers to the task, while I explain my experience with the product to the other neanderthals like myself.
Now going through classical and jazz, I wanted to hear some low-end as well so I opened up my EDM playlist. While I'm not a bass head, I do enjoy a stronger presence there than most people and I was afraid that this will sound too boring for my taste. But just like my wife, these cans were there to tell me that I was wrong!  Now don't get me wrong, they are more to the neutral side, but I'm very happy to report to bass if very present and well extended. It's more present than the MDR-1R or Momentums. The only thing I could actually compare it to, was the B7, which I considered to have just a tad bit more bass as far as the quantity goes.But the difference is only distinguishable if you close your eyes and really concentrate on certain bits of the track.
Listening to vocal tracks and ballads, the mids were extremely good as well. These are the type of headphones that can make Justin Bieber sound human (yes, I listen to a few tracks from him, I'll show myself out). Compared to the B7, this is a clear winner with regards to the mid section. Where the B7 leaves you with the impression that the vocalist is taking a few steps back, with the Meze you feel the vocalist to be right where he is supposed to. I really don't know how should I describe the sound in a more delightful way, but trust me, the headphones sound exquisite on all counts.
 
As for the sound leakage, this product seals the sound very well. I really believe they are fit for portable use in public, and it blocks the sound in and out very very well.
 
I plugged the headphones to my AMP/DAC Oppo Ha2 as well, and while there is a slight sound quality increase, it's barely distinguishable from the normal Iphone. So if you don't have a portable DAC/AMP combo, don't buy one for this pair. They don't need it. I don't know what to say about the more expensive desk headphones amplifiers as I don't own one yet, but as far as portable headphone amplifiers go, I feel like the Meze are very good without one as well.
 
COMFORT AND MIRROR FACTOR
 
Mirror factor is a term i just made up. It refers to the level of shame you would feel while wearing the headphones in public. 
I have a big head, so while I go out with the B7's on my head I look like something resembling a Chupa-Chups candy.
I saw in most pictures that the Meze's antennas stick out fairly much on other people's head, but I'm happy to report that if you have a big head that won't be a problem.
The antennas will stay very close to the curvature of your head and it will not look weird in any way.
 
As for the comfort, I said earlier that these headphones are comfortable. But I have to admit that the pads were a bit shallow so your ear will touch the sponge that is covering the drivers. I have issues with things that are touching my ears so maybe I'm too sensitive about it. But it's a thing worth noting if you are anything like me. I hope Meze will come back with some replacement pads that are deeper. Also, in a a few instances my hair got stuck in the gold hinges that are holding the headband, so the headphones pulled a few of my hairs out when taking them down.
But these were not huge problems in my opinion, and at this point i'm just nitpicking. 
 
In summary, this is a very good pair of headphones. It's a very good all rounder that strikes a point in every category worth mentioning. I'm definitely going to buy these as soon as I can convince my wife that I need a fifth pair of headphones in my life. 
 
Thanks for reading!
AlexC1202
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ArrancarV
ArrancarV
Thank you for the review! Great read :) Any chance of you also having heard the Oppo PM-3 and any comparison with the Meze 99?
AlexC1202
AlexC1202
Hi ArrancarV,
 
Yes, I owned the Oppo PM-3 for about 2 months, but I rarely given them a listen.
I'm not saying that they are not good, but as I mentioned in the review, I like headphones with a bit more present bass, which unfortunately the Oppo were not able to deliver.
Oppo are very neutral and boring for my taste, so I would definitely go for the Meze to please my ears. 
I got the Oppo's for the planar magnetic drivers, as in theory they should produce more bass, but that's simply not the case.
 
But if you are more interested in neutral sound, like most audiophiles, the Oppo will definitely deliver! But as far as my taste is involved, I would choose the Meze all day.
 
Hope I answered your question. If you want me to get into more specifics, let me know and I'll try to formulate an answer as comprehensive as I can.
Pros: A fun and engaging headphone that strikes a very nice balance
Cons: Fit is strange, not quite over the ear or on ear. An emphasis in the midrange that can give a honky or nasal quality.
Introduction
 
First off I would like to thank the Meze team for selecting me to take part in the Canadian leg of the 99 classic tour and I’d also like to apologize for it taking so long to get this written. This is my sons second year in hockey and between his practices, games and tournaments along with my daughters dance classes and my own work I’m starting to realize that from Christmas to March is the busiest time of year for me. This also limited my time with 99 Classics, I would have liked to have had more time to get to know them a little better.
 
What’s Included
 
Inside the 99 Classics outer box you’ll find a very nice hard case molded to the shape of the headphones. Inside the case is the 99 Classics themselves and a soft pouch including two cloth covered cables, one longer, the other shorter with a microphone for portable use. Also in the pouch is a ¼” as well as an airline adapter.
 
I have to say, I really like the outer hard case. Honestly, I’d prefer a case like this was included with my Nighthawks instead of the softer case that came with those.
 
Build Quality
 
As a $300 US headphone I’m pretty impressed with the build quality and accessories. The pads and headband are a PU leather which seem to be of reasonably good quality although not quite up to the same standards of the materials used in my NightHawk. The wood cups have a very nice matte finish which I find very attractive. The overall presentation has an element of elegance but I’ll admit I don’t like the gold accents. I tend to prefer understated elegance though which I feel the gold detracts from.
 
Meze99Classics.jpg
 
Fit & Comfort
 
There are some similarities between the 99 Classics and the NightHawks suspension. Both aim to have the user simply place the headphones on their head without the need for extra adjustments. The NightHawks ease of use and comfort has been a revelation, unfortunately the 99 Classics don’t quite hit the mark. Everytime I put them on I found I had to pull them down a bit and then try to stuff my ears inside the pads because the opening is just a little too small for my ears yet too big to sit on them comfortably. It also feels like the pads could be a tad thicker and softer as once I got my ears inside, the tops of my ears tended to touch the driver. Once set though the comfort wasn’t too bad, not too much clamp and I didn’t feel much need to readjust them all the time.
 
Sound
 
I was first on the Canadian tour so the 99 Classics were brand spanking new. Straight of the box I found the mids had an odd push and they sounded a little strained so I set them to play over the weekend before getting down to listening.
 
After their weekend break-in period the 99 Classics seemed more at ease and the midrange push seemed to have lessened but was still there giving a slight honky or nasal quality that was most apparent on vocals. This emphasis in the mids also has the effect of bringing out some details that were previously masked so the 99 Classics gave an interesting, slightly different take on familiar music.
 
The 99 Classics lean towards the warmer side yet they are one of the more fun headphones I’ve listened to. Bass has some added emphasis and it’s fast, tight and punchy with reasonably good extension into sub-bass. This tight and fast quality is predominant throughout the frequency spectrum giving the 99 Classics great PRaT making for a very fun listen at the expense of losing some ambient information as decay gets cut short.
 
The decay being cut short may have some effect on soundstage as well as I found that, while it has decent width, there is a distinct lack of depth in comparison to what I’m used to with the NightHawks. Instrument placement is decent but does lack some of the separation I’ve become accustomed to. This is most noticeable on denser recordings where instruments and placement became a bit confused as they fight with each other for space.
 
Treble has very good presence without any harshness or over emphasis on sibilance. In fact, I’d say this is one of the nicer presentations of treble I’ve heard in a headphone.
 
As mentioned previously, I found the mids to have a bit of push I’d say in the upper range. Every time I put them on they sounded a bit odd at first. After a few minutes I could adjust but the timbre of some instruments and vocals always seemed a bit off. I wondered if the pads and fit might be to blame but it’s hard to say.
 
Conclusion

It might seem like didn’t like the 99 Classics but honestly, I was pretty impressed with them. They have a fun, energetic yet smooth sound that I found addictive. They give me some of what I’ve always liked about Grados without the sibilance and ringing ear issues I have with Grados. The 99 Classics do seem to have some irregularity in their frequency response but I suspect that at least some of this may come down to fit. If the Meze team were to update these with pads that are deeper and softer with a larger opening for the ear I think I would be very tempted to get a pair to complement my NightHawks. At $300 for the build and sound quality on offer the 99 Classics are a pretty darn good deal.
jinxy245
jinxy245
Great review...fun, energetic & smooth is exactly how I'm finding them.
I'm not sure it's fair to compare to the (semi-open & more expensive) Nighthawks, but the point of reference is understandable. The Meze isn't bad for a closed back (IMO).

Thanks!
Miguel Ruiz
Miguel Ruiz
Im looking into this ones vs the Nighthawks, Ive been reading a lot of reviews on both and almost never is Soundstage or localization, I listen mostly to classic rock and classical music, mostly piano, so a decent soundstage is a major thing for me. I know, they are close back but still, any input in this?
elnero
elnero
@Miguel Ruiz It's been quite awhile since I've heard the 99 Classics but from my recollection I'd say the NightHawk would give you better soundstage depth and localization. The $349 sale price for the NightHawk right now is an absolute steal in my opinion. 
Pros: Wonderful craftmanship, warm detailed signature that is on the brighter side of warm. Most comfortable partial ear headphone I have tried.
Cons: Cables are slightly noisy due to fabric. Cups are more like half to three quarter over ear versus fully over ear.
First if I would like to thank Meze for including me in their review program. I did NOT receive these for free, like all other reviewers in the program I was given a 1 week window to review the headphone, then ship them on to the next reviewer. Having said that one of us will win a free pair as a thank you from Meze for reviewing their headphone. I personally do not feel the potential for a free headphone sways my opinion on how something sounds, looks, feels, or it's craftsmanship. To be blunt if I don't like it I wouldn't want to win it and if I do like it, well then any positive review I make is deserved...
 
This headphone deserves a positive review...   

 
Ok, so now that I have dealt with the usual disclaimers let get into the review.
 
When the headphone arrived I loved how it looked. I personally love the dark walnut cups, the black headrest and suspension system and the gold accents. The headphone looks like a tasteful work of art and listening instrument. To be blunt I can't take pictures of the headphone that do it justice so I won't be lacing my review with pictures. Suffice it to say Meze's stock pictures look every bit as good as the finished product with no photo touching and glamorizing needed. Some will prefer the companies silver offerings more which is fine because I believe every picture offered by Meze is an honest depiction of their quality and craftsmanship so people can buy with confidence based on their personal fashion preference.
 
The retail packaging also reflects the quality of the product without being excessive or over the top in an attempt to upsell an otherwise less than impressive product. Just as Meze has not needed to depict their product as more than they are in their pictures, they haven't felt the need to waste money with fancy packaging either. Which is great news because they then put that money into a great case to protect their works of art as well as a very nice soft case to hold their cables.
 
Everything Meze has done shows their love for craftsmanship, design, and most importantly... MUSIC.
 
So are there any flies in the ointment? Yes, there are two things that stand out.
  • The cables while looking very nice and being well built internally are cloth covered which makes then slightly noising when rubbing on things, with the smartphone cable being a bit less noisy due to the microphone/button acting as a noise absorber.
  • The cups are not truly over ear (at least for my average sized ears), being more of a 3/4 over ear, somewhat similar to the original Sennheiser Momentum. The good news for me is that while they are not truly over ear, they are far more comfortable than any other partial over ear headphone I have tried or owned and that's even when I wear my glasses. In fact I found them comfortable for several 2+ hour listening sessions.
 
So how do these sound? In my opinion these sound as good as they look, reflecting the same esthetic values as their design. When I look at them I see a headphone that looks natural, with craftsmanship so solid there is no need for excessive coats of lacquer, over sized components, or glittery/shiny over polished accents. It's just so well put together it doesn't need to TRY THAT HARD! When I listen to them, THATS EXACTLY HOW THEY SOUND TOO! They have a boosted bass but it's never bombastic or over the top. They have a midrange that is clear, articulate, and engaging without ever feeling in your face and shouty. The treble similarly is detailed and slightly brighter than I have grown used to but never fatiguing. Their sound stage while smaller than my most expensive headphone and others I have owned or heard is still of a decent size and offers an above average 3D experience.
 
In my testing I used these equally between my LG G4 phone and my Pono player with both devices sounding excellent with the headphone. I also did some listening sessions with my computer and Audio Engine 1 DAC. Again the headphone sounded impressive. In all 3 listening situations I was using a mix of standard and high definition FLAC files from a variety of musical genres from classical orchestra, choral, movie sound tracks (lots of Hans Zimmer), small ensemble, Celtic, classic rock, psychedelic rock, country, female jazz, and more.
 
My usual review style is a breakdown of each area of the sound spectrum but I think I will fore go this process in favor of a brief comparison I wrote between the Meze 99 Classics, the VModa M100, and the Sony MDR-Z7.
 
The bottom line is I think the Meze 99 Classic is EVER BIT THE TITLE. They are "classic".
 

 
Meze 99, Vmoda M100, Sony MDR-Z7 shootout listening to 192kHz 24 bit FLAC song Code Cool by Patricia Barber on my Pono.

Meze 99 and M100 played with standard stereo connection, Z7 played with balanced cable output.

Ok before I get started I want to be clear about my preferences. Over the years I have fluctuated between bright and dark sounding headphones. Swaying as bright as the AKG K712 and as dark as RHA T10. The T10 actually started me down the path to darker headphones until I settled on the Z7 which found a good balance between a dark sound with just the right sparkle and treble detail for me. For the past year and half it has been my go to headphone for listening enjoyment in full size gear.

M100 - Comparing the 3 headphones with this song really shows the M100's main stream signature and it's weaknesses. Starting with the bass while almost as strong as the Z7 it lacks the Z7 punch, detail and texture, sounding slightly hollow in comparison. The midrange is slightly subdued compared to the Z7 and the 99 while having a vocal pitch closer to the 99as compared to the warmer sounding Z7. Strangely the midrange sounds less cohesive due to the gap between the bass and the midrange. Treble is slightly hotter than the Z7 while still not being as bright or as detailed as the 99. The hotness of the treble makes the M100 ever so slightly more fatiguing than the 99 and Z7. The sound stage is slightly larger than the 99 but smaller than the Z7 but has an artificial quality assocated with its V shaped signature. Of the three the M100 has the least detail and imaging prowess.

MDR-Z7 - The Z7 has the biggest bass of the three headphones while having good punch and texture. The bass is definitely the Z7 strength and for many will be its Achilles heel. In this song the Big Bass (instrument) sounds slightly slightly larger than normal. Personally I enjoy the slightly larger than life experience but again many would not appreciate the coloration. The midrange is the warmest of the three headphones and yet retains detail, urgency, and is very cohesive with the bass. But this also means vocals have a level of huskiness that some would again find colored. The treble is finely detailed and articulate while being slightly relaxed, never approaching anything close to fatiguing. 3D imaging and sound stage is immensly satisfying and large beating both 99 and M100 handily.

Meze 99 - The bass of the 99 is the lowest in quantity while having as good a punch as the Z7 as well as detail and texture making it the most balanced of the three headphones. It is not a neutral headphone though, just more balanced than the other 2 in this comparison. The midrange similarly is brighter and as detailed and urgent as the Z7. The treble has none of the hotness of the M100 while being the brightest of the 3 headphones and yet fatigue free. While the 99 has the smallest sound stage it is very natural sounding and has as good instrument separation as the Z7.

So given my leaning towards the dark side it would be easy to say I would like the Z7 the most, but strangely enough I found myself enjoying the Meze 99 as much or more than the Z7. Where the Z7 won in the 3D and sound stage department the 99 won in the clarity and natural department. Both were non-fatiguing.

Comfort wise the Z7 wins but I actually found the 99 more comfortable than the M100 with extra large pads. In fact I can easily see living with the 99 from a comfort perspective which is shocking because I immensely prefer full over over versus on ear or half on ear. But the 99 has done a better job of comfort than any other half on ear headphone I have owned or tried.

So there you have it. The Meze trounced the M100 and sounded as good as (or better if you don't like the sound of the Z7's signaure) my $700 Z7 running in its optimal balanced configuration. So I guess you could say I like the Meze 99 a lot
.
MaxLee
MaxLee
Well Should I Get The M100 Or Meze,Im A DJ But Still Love Classical Audiophile Music,And Love Bass Too.So...Which I Should Pick?
MadMusicJunkie
MadMusicJunkie
Great review. I find comparisons the most effective way of getting an impression of a headphone over someone trying to just use words to describe complex sounds. As such, I've found this review to be the most helpful in my Meze 99 research!
dweaver
dweaver
MaxLee, I apologize for missing your question those many months ago, doubly so since I own both headphones! The 99 is the more balanced of the 2 headphones but the M100 is better for DJ purposes. From a purely audiophile pers[ective I think the Calssic's win hands down though. But if you REALLY love some bass the M100 is the more bassy headphone and darned fun to listen to.
 
Thanks for the complement MadMusicJunkie, I have just finished a review / comparison between the 99 Classic and the new 99 Neo, which you might find a good read as well. www.head-fi.org/products/meze-99-neo/reviews/18490
Pros: Beautiful design, intimate and engaging smooth sound, excellent detail and resolve
Cons: Ear pads could be deeper
Intro
 
    Meze Headphones is a company with a simple philosophy;  Motivation, Values, People. With a passion for art and music, achieved through patience and dedication, Meze design timeless masterpieces. Ignoring current trends that come and go with the seasons, influenced by none, they create headphones as if for themselves. Consisting of passionate specialists, with backgrounds in sound engineering, design, crafting, and music, the team has stood by their company’s values since the beginning.
 
    My first experience with Meze Headphones was shortly after the release of their 88 Classics. A couple years back my travels took me to a “men’s den” gift shop. The first thing I noticed upon entering the store, nestled between a rare Italian marble chess board with dragon forged obsidian pieces and a diamond crusted Zippo lighter made from platinum and unobtanium, was a gorgeous and unique looking headphone hanging on a stand behind a locked glass display case.  I had recently watched several glowing reviews of the 88 Classics from my tech-news sites, so I walked away disappointed to not be able to demo them. (For the record, I did ask.) 
 
    To celebrate the launch of the 99 Classics, Meze set up a North American review tour exclusive to Head-fi. Needless to say, I jumped on the opportunity and was one of the first responders. To my pleasant surprise, I was chosen for one of the spots in the Canadian leg of the tour! However, my good fortune was about to take a turn for the better. Taking second place in iFi’s iCAN micro SE Intergalactic launch competition, I won myself my very own pair of 99 Classics!  This is awesome as I would have been very very sad to have to send off the review pair to the next tour member after only one week of use.
 
fulltilt.jpg
 
 
Disclaimer
 
    This is the tricky part, and I had to think a lot on how to go about this review. While I am part of the Canadian tour and obligated to write an honest review of the 99 Classics, I do own them personally. After much thought, I decided why does it matter? The fact is, I absolutely love the 99 Classics design and their sound. Review sample or not, in the end my words will be honest and objective, nothing more. 
 
 
About Me
    
    37 years old, I grew up in a family consisting of musicians, broadcaster/sound engineers, and amateur DJs, I always had a deep appreciation and understanding of both music and sound. I was further educated in this self interest after taking courses in both electronics and sound (Electro-Acousto aka The Path to Golden Ears). While I believe a listener’s preference in sound is subjective, the science behind it is not. I am not swayed by buzzwords, hype, trends, brand recognition, or big numbers on charts; I am the nemesis of the commissioned salesperson. Opinionated as I am, my words are not only objective but honest. I view all criticism as constructive, as long as it is sincere. 
 
Specifications
 
  1. Transducer size: 40mm
  2. Transducer Type: Dynamic Neodymium / Mylar
  3. Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
  4. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
  5. Impedance: 32Ohm
  6. Rated input power: 30mW
  7. Maximum input power: 50mW
  8. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
  9. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
  10. Ear-cups: walnut wood
 
Accessories
 
  1. 1.2m OFC cable with 1-button control talk module
  2. 3m OFC cable
  3. Airplane adapter
  4. 6.35mm adapter
  5. Cable pouch
  6. Headphone travel case
  7. Manual/Stickers
 
box.jpg case.jpg logo.jpg
 
For more information and nice eye candy, head over to the 99 Classics website.
To read up on general discussion and impressions, check out the official thread here.
 
Design & Ergonomics 
 
    Each pair of 99 Classics takes about 45 days to perfect, and it shows. Taking 18 months to cure before being CNC carved, each walnut ear cup has it’s own unique grain with no two cups looking alike. The metal hardware is a cast zinc alloy with electroplated coating, and are fastened to the spring steel headband with screws and nuts; There is zero adhesives and plastics used in their construction!  Both the memory foam ear pads and the headband are made of a soft polyurethane leather.
 
front.jpg band.jpg side.jpg
 
    Despite the use of wood and metal in the 99 Classics’ design, the headphones are incredibly light, weighing in at 290 grams. Thanks to the extra wide headband and the double-wishbone style of the spring, wearing the 99 Classics feel almost weightless; The headband extends to a perfect fit every time. Clamping force is extremely tolerable, with very little discomfort coming from the ear pads. This combination of design features ensures for long term wearability. I would like to note that while personally I find the ear pads to be both wide and deep enough for my ears, some might find the fit to be on the small side. Meze has taken the initiative based off from reviewer feedback and are working on slightly larger/deeper ear pad design. Overall though, the pads do offer pretty good sound isolation from the outside world yet offer virtually 100% sound leakage at moderate to high volume.
 
right.jpg left.jpg cup.jpg
 
    In regards to the included cables, Meze did not overlook their appearance and design. The detachable cloth sleeved cables are of the Y-design, meaning that the left and right channels connectors are separate. I have to commend Meze for using this connection method as I am not fond of the single insert cables. With no cable running through the headband, not only is there less microphonic noise, but less potential for channel imbalance due to unequal cable lengths, all while making the 99 Classics more user serviceable. All three of the 3.5mm plugs, as well as the Y-split have gold and black metal housings featuring seamless rubber stress reliefs. There is some microphonic noise when the cable is rubbed after the Y-split, but it is not too bothersome. I do have to give mention to the control-talk module as well. It's design is quite functional with an easy to locate rubber button that gives the user tactile feedback when pressed; You will never wonder if you are depressing it enough or not. I would also like to add that clicking the button once activates play/pause/answer, twice is to skip to the next track, and three times for previous track. Unlike most single button control talk units I have used in the past, I have yet to experience an instance where the 99 Classics' control talk button failed to register my click. Bravo! However, I do have one minor gripe. If I had to make a suggestion, the unit should be lower down on the cable to avoid inaccessibility when wearing collared outerwear. Inside while at my desk or on the couch, it's not an issue.
 
 y.jpg ct.jpg plugs.jpg
 
*Pictures taken by me using my iPod Touch 
 
First Impressions
 
    Inside and out, Meze presented me with a product that radiated elegance! The outside of the box is stunning; Against a matte black background with the words “Meze 99 Classics Gold, Designed by Antonio Meze” in gold, the embossed glossy outline of the 99 Classics could be seen. Upon opening the magnetic latch, I was immediately greeted by the stylish moulded hard travel case with a metal Meze logo in black and gold shinning up at me! Taking the 99 Classics out of their case, all I could do is stare; They looked absolutely stunning! The combination of the black and walnut with gold accents is tastefully done. Every screw, every line, every angle, and every curve serves the purpose of both function and aesthetics; The design and craftsmanship are an awe-inspiring work of art! I will admit, I did stare at myself in the mirror wearing the 99 Classics, capturing every nuance of their design from all angles.
 
    Once I finished admiring the 99 Classics’ design, fit, and comfort, it was time to put them to the test. To be honest, I did not know what to expect in terms of sound. Too many times I have been tricked into purchasing headphones based off from misleading advertising and over-hyped reviews so I am always expecting the worst (despite my optimistic outlook on life). It only took seconds into the first song for all reservations I had to vanish; The 99 Classics’ sound was beyond my expectations! Track after track, no matter what the genre, I was impressed!
 
Sound - The Basics
 
    Meze promotes the 99 Classics as having a balanced sound that is crisp and clear. Adding in warmth, I whole heartedly concur.  Across the whole frequency spectrum, the 99 Classics remain solid with no exaggerations or peaks. The overall sound is liquid and transparent with excellent extension and detail, yet remain non-fatiguing to the ears. The transition from bass to mids to treble is incredibly smooth, with no bleed or bloat.
 
Bass - Slightly north of neutral, bass is powerful and prominent. Sub-bass extends very deep with just the right amount of weight    as to not overpower the rest of the upper frequencies. Mid-bass, while relatively flat, does have a slight hump giving the 99 Classics a touch more punch. However, much like the sub-bass, mid-bass does not bleed into the lower-mids. Overall the speed of the bass is quite fast and controlled though there is a small bit of looseness in the sub-bass, giving the resonance a touch of rumbley fun.
 
Mid Range - Impressively neutral, detailed, and transparent. The mids are neither recessed nor elevated, simply flat. This does not mean the 99 Classics are boring, or too analytical, quite the opposite. Possessing both body and breathe, vocals are beautifully rendered with zero peakiness or accentuation to the sibilance. Instruments are nicely detailed with excellent texture and transparency; There is no grain to be heard.
 
Treble - Despite having a balanced frequency response, treble does take a slight backseat to the mids. However, this does not translate to being modest,  recessed, or having an early roll-off. Quite the opposite in fact. Treble is crisp and clean with fantastic extension; The sound is fairly airy and detailed with just the right amount of sparkle and shine. There is no exaggeration in the mid-treble, the classic 6 KHz spike that would add to the potential harshness of the sibilance or add piercing glare, nor is there any peakiness at 10 KHz region that adds fatigue. 
 
Soundstage -  While the 99 Classics are of a closed back design the soundstage is slightly above par, giving the listener a good sense of 3D/holographic imaging. Left/right and up/down are of equal width, with the front/back width slightly behind. Instrument separation if great, never sounding congested or cramped. Although due to the warm, wood tone of the sound signature, holographic imaging does suffer a touch in comparison to the rest of the 3D sound-space. Overall, the 99 classics soundstage can be described in one word: Intimate.
 
Sound - Music
 
     With the exception of a few, I listen to virtually every genre. What impressed me about the 99 Classics is their ability to handle every genre flawlessly. From Classical to Heavy Metal, Jazz to Electronica, I was never let down by their ability to do the song justice! I would like to point out that if the track is poorly mastered, or an mp3 of a low bit-rate, you will notice the flaws. On the plus side, high bit-rate/Hi-rez music will sound absolutely flawless!
 
    Listening to the audiophile classic Spanish Harlem - Rebecca Pidgin is a must for all music lovers. I always turn to this song as a test of a headphone’s dynamics, and the 99 Classics did not disappoint. Rebecca’s voice was well rendered, with a good sense of naturalness. The sibilance of her voice can pose problems for headphones of all quality, including ones that cost numerous times more that the 99 Classics, but not so here! Every note was pitch perfect with an airy naturalness. The bass had excellent definition and weight yet played perfectly, un-obscuring towards the rest of the sound.  Each draw of the bow across the violins had texture and resolve. Every shake of the rattle sounded unique, and could be easily discerned. The piano was well rendered without glare or congestion.
 
    Stravinsky’s The Royal March - Soloist New York is an excellent track to demonstrate a headphones ability to handle transients. Between the brass, strings, and percussion, this song features powerful transients. To fully appreciate the 99 Classics ability, I turned up the volume to above average listening levels. What I was presented with was an awesome sense of excitement! The drums were tight and taut, never sounding dull, sluggish, or lacking definition. The horns sounded crisp and clean, well defined with excellent ear-tickling bite! Cymbals splashed with very fast and accurate attack, sustain, decay, and release. The bass-strings resonated deep with both speed and definition.
 
    While the 99 Classics have the ability to render music of the more ‘natural’ variety admirably, their ability to handle the modern sounds of Pop and Electronica is equally fantastic. A mix between techno, jazz, and classical, Mona Lisa - Juno Reactor is a good example of fast and pumping modern sound. Bass is very fast and tight, with the sub-bass blooms rendered with the right amount of weight. The tribal drums are relentless in their assault, with each palm strike of the skin being easily discernible over the rest of the beat. Background vocals were upfront and mesmerizing, the strings had great dynamics, and the horns bite hard! This song can get very busy, yet the 99 Classics hold their own, never missing a beat nor subtle effect!
    
    Binaural tracks really excelled through the 99 Classics. I was happy to hear that despite the warm wood tone impending the sense of holographic imaging, binaural tracks did not suffer. Compared to a lot of closed back headphones I have owned/heard, the 99 Classics were able to render the imaging with greater accuracy. David Chesky sounded like he was in a large cathedral 30’ away as he walked up to the microphone and whispered into my ear; His breathe could be felt on my ear! Likewise, Edgar the Barber’s virtual haircut sounded equally impressive, giving me a good sense of moving his scissors around the sides, top, and back of my head. And yes, it did make my ears flinch a little.
 
    I know it’s kind of an odd area to touch on, but what really impresses me about the 99 Classics is their ability to handle electric guitar distortion. Whether it’s the raw sound of Heartbreaker - Led Zeppelin, the masterfully recorded classic 2112 - Rush, or the newly release Dystopia - Megadeth, I was not let down! Their ability to handle fuzz, squeals, wails, crunch, distortion and noise without butchering the sound or bleeding my ears is nothing short of impressive; The 99 Classics distort like a champ! 
 
    Lastly, I present to you what I call the ‘Captain Tractor Test’. Captain Tractor hails from my home city of Edmonton. Well traveled and decently know, they have been around for more than 20 years. Their sound can be described as Indie, with a mix of maritime folk and prairie rock. I have seen them play live in numerous venues, big and small, acoustic and amped, probably close to 30 times.  Simply put, the 99 Classics pass the test with flying colours! Absolutely perfect! Closing my eyes, I am placed in the sweet spot in front of the band! Every singer, every instrument sound flawless!
 
Sound - Movies, Games, and General Use
 
    Movies & games are perhaps the most overlooked uses of headphones in many reviews for many headphones. In fact, for the 99 Classics I have yet to find a single mention here, or various other tech and review sites in regards to movies, video games, and every day use such as YouTube and Podcasts. Rest assured good folk, I got this covered!
 
    As a child of the 1980’s, I love giant robots and monsters hell bent on destroying man-kind. For this reason, Pacific Rim has been my go-to movie to demo equipment; The first 15 minutes of the movie is simply awesome! The movie starts off with a short narrative of the back-story, segueing into the plot’s present day scenario. Two Jaeger pilots, brothers, are awoken out of bed and changed with defending the city of Anchorage from a giant killer monster; The Kaiju. This movie’s sound engineering is phenomenal, with so many subtle and mundane sounds mixed with an epic, heart pounding soundtrack, Pacific Rim puts A/V equipment to the test. Normally I am listening for things such as the crackle of a fluorescent desk lamp warming up, the beating of the rain upon metal, how centred and clear the dialogue is, or how well I can hear the action over the soundtrack. However, while watching Pacific Rim with the 99 Classics I found myself so drawn in the next thing I realized is that I had watched 75% of the movie; I had to go back and re-watch the prologue again! Simple put, the 99 Classics offer a detailed and engaging sound. Every subtle and nuanced sound was easily heard, the dialogue remained completely centred and concise, and the music pounded my ears yet never treaded upon nor overpowered the other sounds in the mix.
 
    Because of their tweaked-neutral sound signature, gaming with the 99 Classics was also a treat. I find that while clean and clear, the majority of competitive gaming headsets offer nothing in terms of excitement, mostly due to their too flat sound signature and lacking in bass weight. The 99 Classics once again performs admirably with modern games of all genres. Spells, attacks, and the screams of hell-spawns in Diablo III were wonderfully rendered with excellent separation and clarity. I had absolutely no trouble hearing and pinpointing the sound of a Treasure Goblin amongst the horde of dozens of demons and undead trying their best to thwart my efforts of sending them back to the underworld! The beautiful Classical-Gregorian score sounded as dynamic as it was haunting, with each instrument possessing wonderful texture and resolve adding to the dark atmosphere of the game’s locations. Dialogue came across as centred and clear, with 3D positioning of on screen characters well represented. With games like Fallout 4 and Dying Light, 3D positioning and accurate location of sounds is critical to surviving. You must know where the dangers lay or else one can easily be caught off guard by an unruly group of individuals who want nothing more than to put and end to your life. I again had no issue being able to locate my enemies in the 3D soundscape; I never had to listen too hard to hear every nuanced environmental noise and sound. As both games are heavily story driven there is quite a bit of dialogue. Much like movies, voices were well rendered, sounding clean and natural.
 
    Given their excellent performance in regards to dialogue in movies and games, it’s not surprising that the 99 Classics sound great listening to online media. Commentary in Podcasts and YouTube vloggers sounded clear, centred, and natural. No one’s voice sounded muffled, boomy, or overly sibilant. Because of  the 99 Classics’ design, I had no issues listening to hours of YouTube with no discomfort on my inner-ears nor my head. The ear-pads did get a little warm, but never did I find them getting sticky or sweaty.
 
Sound - Summary
 
    The 99 Classics do so much right offering a detailed, liquid smooth, engaging, and fatigue free listening experience. I simply could not find a fault with their overall transparency and resolve. While not in the same echelon as the Sennheiser HD800, they are easily in the same league as the Momentum offering a very similar sound in terms of both detail and sound signature, which to be honest is the type of sound I prefer in headphones. Unlike the latter, the 99 Classics offer the same balanced sound but with a sprinkle of pizzaz added in. Some audiophile purists may consider Meze’s tweaking to be more consumer friendly. I myself prefer to think that the 99 Classics are geared towards audiophiles who want to step away from analytical for a while and just relax with a smooth yet detailed and fun sounding headphone.
 
Amping
 
    With an impedance of 32Ohms and a sensitivity of 103dB, the 99 Classics are efficient enough to be powered by virtually anything with a 3.5mm jack. Whether it be a Gameboy Advanced, HDTV, iPod Classic or iPod Touch 6 Gen, I never had to go above 50% volume to reach a moderate listening level. For both my Creative E3 and my iCAN micro SE (0 dB gain) I never had to go above 25%. As efficient as the 99 Classics are, I highly recommend giving them the love they deserve and pair it with an amp worthy of $300 headphones. For example, with both the E3 and iPod Touch, the bass sounds loose and less controlled than it does with the iCAN micro. In fact, pairing with the latter, the 99 Classics’ bass is more in line with what audiophile purists prefer. 
 
Burn-in
 
    40 hours is what is recommended by Meze, and I highly encourage anyone to give the 99 Classics at least that amount of time before any critical reviews. Bass becomes more controlled, less loose and bloomy, and treble detail definitely comes up a few notches. Overall, after burn-in the sound becomes less ridged and and more liquid.
 
Value
 
    The question begs, at a MSRP of $309 US, are the 99 Classics a good value? Absolutely! If I had not won my pair of 99 Classics, after spending a week with my tour pair would I have any reservation about purchasing my own pair? None! As mention earlier on in this review, I would have been very very sad to send the headphones off to the next reviewer. Their detailed and smooth sound coupled with gorgeous, timeless beauty through suburb craftsmanship are truly a welcome addition to anyone’s collection, including my own. Adding in the moulded hard travel case, 2 well crafted cables, and accessibility of the components definitely adds to their long term value. Eventually I am going to purchase a stylish mannequin head and proudly display the 99 Classics in my living room amongst my other cool items I like to show off.
 
Conclusion
 
    If you are a headphone junky who wants to add to their growing collection, rest assured that the 99 Classics will be a proud addition. If you are simply someone in the market looking to find a headphone that offers a detailed fatigue free yet dynamic sound, you can’t go wrong choosing these over the other more well established brands. With a price of $309 US, Meze Headphones has a real winner with the 99 Classics. Combining a smooth and natural listening experience that promotes a timeless design in a visually stunning package all while maintaining superb fit and comfort, there are few reasons not to fall in love with these headphones. My hat’s off to you, Antonio Meze, and your team of professionals; You have made a fantastic headphone!
 
 
jinxy245
jinxy245
A great review, thanks!! I just received my pair for review, and I'm enjoying them thoroughly. So far a winner to my ears. Some have called the mids a bit pushed, but that doesn't seem severe to my ears, and can be track dependent. I'd love to hear your thoughts between these & the PSBs...I'm slowly narrowing my choices down....

Thanks again!
Bansaku
Bansaku
@jinxy245 Thanks! Actually, I have been slowly taking notes and a PSB vs Meze will be coming soon, once my sleep habits fall back to normal. :)
jinxy245
jinxy245
Very cool and rest up!! I'll look forward to the comparison.
Pros: Build quality - Design - Comfort - Energetic and reasonably balanced signature
Cons: Cloth cables are a tad noisy
 ​

DSCN0322.jpg

 
Greetings Head-fi!
 
The 99 Classics first appeared on my radar when I read @BloodyPenguin's review. Not only did his description of the 99 Classics sound intrigue me, but his images showed off the physical beauty of this amazing headphone. When I laid eyes on the 99 Classics, it was love at first sight.
 
When I saw that Meze was running a Canadian leg to their 99 Classics tour, it was pretty late in the application process. I'm not sure if it made a difference in @MezeTeam's selection process especially since I'm pretty inexperienced compared to the majority of their selected applicants, but I want to thank @nmatheis for putting in a good word for me.
 
When Meze contacted me to advise that I would be put on the tour, I was taken aback. This amazing looking pair of headphones would eventually serenade my ears, even if only for a short period. To say that I was stoked was an understatement. The best headphones I've heard/owned to date have been the UE6000, AKG K512 MKii, and my current favorite, the AKG K553 Pro. I was VERY excited to hear how the Meze 99 Classics would compare to these headphones which I have become very familiar with.
 
Disclaimer: The Meze 99 Classics were sent to me for seven (seemingly very short) days as part of their Canadian tour. I am in no way affiliated with Meze and receive no financial compensation for this review.
 
A little about me:
 
While I'm still pretty new to the world of hi-fi portable audio, my love of budget earphones and headphones has allowed me to more-or-less find my preferred signature. Don't think this means that I avoid variety, because that couldn't be further from the truth!
 
My gear is still pretty basic, consisting of the venerable Topping NX1, HTC One M8, and an Asus G73 laptop with Plantronics Rig USB amp. My current favorite earphone is the JVC HA-FXH30. I primarily listen to EDM (liquid drum and bass ftw), hip hop, and classic rock, but have been known to dabble in metal and jazz. While I enjoy a good sounding product, physical design is also key. If they look boring but sound great, that's cool, but I would like to have something interesting to look that is also great sounding. Since I have such an unnecessarily large collection of headphones and earphones, I spend just as much time listening to them as I do enjoying the variety of designs. Luckily, the 99 Classics had no problems nailing my criteria for beauty in both sound and design. Now, to the fun part.
 
*****
 
I flip back the magnetically sealed flap after spending a few moments dissecting the subtle images of the 99 Classics printed on the front and sides of the box. On the inside of the flap I see foam has been glued, preventing the beautifully molded case from being scratched or damaged in any way.
 
I reach into the box and lift out the hard EVA case. It molds to my hands. The leather texture feels premium to the touch, smooth but not slick. The zippers, thick and durable, fluidly move their way around the case, splitting it in two.
 
Tilting back the top half of the case I get my first glimpse of the 99 Classics. They look great in pictures, and even better in the flesh. I lift them out and set them to the side, picking up a small velvet case about the thickness of two hockey pucks. Coiled inside I find two cables, one for mobile use, one for home use. Let's set that aside too. Also inside is an airplane adapter and a 6.35mm adapter. Very nice. I zip up the case and return my gaze to the 99 Classics.
 
Wow, what a glorious looking headphone. My eyes flow from the golden inserts where the cables plug in, across the flawless surface of the wooden ear cups, up to the leather headband that arcs gracefully between the two cups. I could stare at these for hours, but if they sound as good as they look that would be a waste.
 
I plug the cable into each ear cup, lift the 99 Classics onto my head, and let them rest around my ears. Perfect. The weight distributes across my head flawlessly. My ears fit just inside the ear cups, held snug by the memory foam. Now this is comfort.
 
So, what to listen to? Some Crystal Method? I don't think so. Rage Against the Machine? Not quite. Tool? That could be nice, but it doesn't feel quite special enough. Oh! I know. Supertramp's Crime of the Century, one of my favorite albums of all time. That's the perfect choice.
 
I lay down on the couch, lean my head back, close my eyes, and hit 'play'. From the sweet harmonica intro of "School", to the Wurli piano solo in "Bloody Well Right", to the intense journey through jazz, rock, and progressive that is "Rudy", to the closing moments of "Crime of the Century", everything is played without effort. The emotion immaculately portrayed, no detail missed. Bass hits just right. Treble is prominent and sparkles with gusto. Hodgson's voice effortlessly echoes across the soundstage. My smile widens. Let's throw on King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" next...
 
*****
 
That was my intro to the 99 Classics, and an experience that carried over to practically every listening session I had with them. Their natural, slightly warm and mostly balanced sound, supreme comfort, and delicious good looks completely won me over. Not since first listening to the AKG K553 Pro, my primary headphone, was I so pleased.
 
Sound Impressions:
 
Since the K553 Pro was the best headphone I'd heard to date, it was only natural that this review compare the two. Prior to the 99 Classics crossing my path, the K553 Pro met pretty much all my needs. At times I felt they could be a little bright and their sub-bass presentation leaves a bit to be desired since they roll off early, but they offer up lots of detail with clean, smooth mids. As long as you avoid unnecessarily high volume listening, the AKG K553 Pro can be a very pleasant listen.
 
To my surprise I found the 99 Classics and K553 Pro similar in many aspects, though they did differ in some important criteria, those being the areas where I had issues with the AKG. Treble provided just enough shimmer along with lots of detail, and never approached discomfort or sibilance. The 99 Classics don't have quite the same extension as the K553 Pro, but they never felt like they were lacking in any way. Mids were just as clean and clear, handling anything I tossed at them with aplomb. I particularly enjoyed them with male vocals and the lengthy guitar solos you find in many classic rock tracks. Sub-bass met the needs that my AKG K553 Pro fails to address. The 99 Classics have just the right amount of extension and rumble to work with all of my favorite music, something the K553 misses the mark on. Mid-bass is punchy and reasonably quick, never bleeding into the mids. I enjoy the snappy sound of the K553 Pro, but the 99 Classics retains most of that energy while being easier on the ears and more versatile across a variety of genres. I'll chalk that up to their additional warmth and slightly more relaxed treble presentation.
 
Listening to all my favorite tracks again and again was nothing but pleasant, and there really wasn't anything about the 99 Classics that I disliked. They're just a darn good headphone. Every listen was an event, from the time I picked them up to examine their curvaceous design and flawless construction, to the last note played before they were returned to their case.
 
If I were to make any suggestions for improvements, it would have to go to the cables. They look beautiful and feel wonderful, but being cloth-covered meant they could be a bit noisy, and will likely be subject to fraying down the road. Still, this is a VERY minor issue in my opinion, and is pretty much negligible.
 
I can't say much on isolation since they were used only indoors in a relatively quite environment (no way I'm taking a loaner outside!!). That said, they were able to adequately block my lovely fiancee's music and videos, so there's something.
 
Summary:
 
The 99 Classics are my favorite audio device, hands down. The unboxing experience leaves nothing to be desired. Simple but effective. The accessories are of high quality. The headphones themselves are drop dead gorgeous. All that backed by amazing sound quality means the 99 Classics are just a stunningly good piece and worth every penny.
 
Thank you @MezeTeam for giving me the opportunity to try these out, and for exposing me to my new favorite headphone. I'm excited to see what you have in store for us later this year. If you ever run another Canadian tour, I'll be the first to sign up!
 
Thanks for reading!
 
- B9Scrambler
Bansaku
Bansaku
Great review!
jinxy245
jinxy245
Very nice review...I enjoyed the description of your aural journey.
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
Thanks guys! I found the soundstage on the K553 slightly larger. For a closed back they're pretty spacious. The 99 Classics have a pretty average soundstage in my opinion. Still, it works well with their signature so no complaints here.
Pros: Light-weight and comfortable with an easy fit. Sound quality covers most genres well. A good case and portable cables are included.
Cons: The cups don't fold, so they are bulky and not so portable. A bit of congestion in the sound. Cable noise.
2017 Update: I've added pictures at the bottom with the new pads. This improves the comfort and sound, though they retain their sound signature for the most part.
 
A few years ago a company from Romania caught my attention with some wood headphones that had attracted a few members. They quickly spotted that they were a rebrand of some Chinese wood headphones and nothing much came from it. However in the intervening few years after that initial bad start, Antonio Meze has been hard at work on making a pair of well-designed, good sounding, and most of all, unique headphones. The result of his toil are the Meze 99 Classics. Suffice to say the new design is certainly eye-opening with dark wood cups, black steel arcs, black leather and touches of gold-colored metal that he has been careful not to overdo. 
 
Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4445.jpg
 
Antonio Meze sought to attend to a number of issues he felt most needed addressing in headphones. Starting with fit, he has avoided anything like a regular adjustment mechanism, instead the entire headphone structure uses a large spring steel arc system connecting cups and headphones. The headpad is elasticised, making the headphones entirely self-adjusting in the manner of the Stax SR007s. This, at least with my kids and my average-sized head made it as easy as putting them on to get the right fit. I dropped by a large-headed friend of mine to see how they'd fit on him to complete the picture, and had the same results: An easy fit. Even if someone with an odd head shape has issues, the arcs can be strategically bent to make adjustments as required. 
 
The down-side to the design is that the cups don't fold flat, so along with the large arcs, once cased in the simple, but suitably solid included case, they aren't as portable as might be ideal and they are really going to stick out if used on public transport.
 
The cables for the headphones are dual-entry using very thin 3.5mm TS plugs. The standard cable, which is very long, terminates in a 3.5mm plug which can be adapted to 6.5mm with the included adaptor. A 3.5mm 3.5mm TRRS cable with an inline mic and play/pause buttons for smart phones is also included. Uniquely the headphones themselves don't have left and right cups, but are entirely symmetrical, so it doesn't matter which cup which plug is inserted. To determine left and right, the plugs themselves are marked, the left plug also having a protruding ring, making it easy to feel which side is left simply by touching the plug. This cable, due to the un-damped wooden cups can transmit some noise when rubbed, though I didn't find it a serious problem. Some people with noisy clothes might find it a bit of an issue, however. 
 
Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4434.jpg
 

 
Overall, the simplicity of the design has resulted in great ergonomics and a light and comfortable pair of headphones that are also very attractive.
 


 
Listening impressions
 
Impressions were taken using a Chord Mojo for the most part at a moderate listening level. Note that impressions are relative to Sennheiser HD800s and other high-end headphones I usually listen with.

 
The overall sound signature is along the lines of a common "consumer" signature, with treble present but not too strong, the mid-range well-present and bass significantly stronger than neutral, with presence down as far as the deep bass. This lends itself to being about right for modern music while still having enough mid-range and top-end to be satisfying to classical and jazz.
 
There is a good amount of detail with the main downside being a bit of congestion overall at moderate listening levels. At first the bass was a bit overwhelming and the treble a bit harsh, but with burn-in (recommended, I might add, by the manufacturer) the treble smoothed out and the bass tightened up. Overall the presentation makes the 99 Classics good for most genres of music, with enough kick in the bass for most tastes, including the deep bass, and a pleasant mid-range and not-too-sharp treble that is a bit muted for my preference (noting my regular headphones are somewhat brighter).
 
Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4414.jpg
 
This is somewhat in the manner of what I remember from Ultrasone's Signature series and Edition 9s, where I wished for a more delicate treble and more space around instruments. This isn't so much a criticism given that they are much cheaper than those headphones! Someone who finds, say, Sennheiser Momentums to be a bit too bright in the treble might like the Meze instead, however.  I don't think that, for someone whom this is their first pair of expensive headphones, this will at all be an issue and, quite the contrary, they will find them very enjoyable. I can only imagine people with extreme tastes, eg: Very large amounts of bass or treble, to have any issue with their presentation of most genres. 
 
For someone such as me who already has high-end headphones, I found them enjoyable to listen to out of my Chord Mojo, or any of the DAPs I have on hand, such as the FiiO X5II or Calyx M. They were good enough to show some of the difference in quality of what I drove them with. Most significantly was how light and comfortable they were to listen with and did a good job of giving a bit of a bass kick to music that my more expensive headphones don't. 
 
Compared to other headphones I have on-hand, Sony's MDR-7Zs are more sophisticated, with deeper earpads and angled drivers and it showed, but I didn't feel I was getting a great deal more resolution. The Massdrop K7XX are different beasts altogether, with a more upper-mid focussed presentation that brings out vocals, but trades a thumping sound for spaciousness instead. 
 
Selected tracks
 
Mirrorball by Elbow
 
The bass of the kick drum is very present yet spacious, if not impactful. Guy Garvey's vocals are just forward enough and come across slightly dark and a little muffled, though the bass interferes with them, as does the rest of the instruments when the music becomes complicated. The slight sibilance on the vocals comes through in a way that is a little annoying. 
 
Don't Explain by Billy Holiday -- dZihan & Kamien remix from Fakes
 
This tracks has a low bass line and the 99's brought the rumble across well and managed to get a good amount of detail and separate out of the different parts of this track, the bass keeping up well, albeit with a smaller soundstage than I'm used to, more "in your head" than around.
 
Moths by Fiona Bevan (Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound binaural from the Accidental Powercut series)
 
It was possible to get a good idea of how wonderful Fiona's voice is from the 99's, along with a good feeling of the recording space, though the slightly lowered treble takes away slightly from this. The binaural stereo image comes through well with a good amount of separation between each of the instruments, Fiona and the audience. The dynamics of the guitar playing are also readily apparent.
 
Traitor - Menahan Street Band (Bonobo - Late Night Tales (Unmixed)
 
The 99's well-formed bass and fairly balanced tuning come through again in this track, with everything from the bass notes to string plucks coming through well on this moderately busy track. This is where I feel the 99's are most spot-on.
 
Too Rich for My Blood by Patricia Barber (Café Blue)
 
One of my reference tracks. While not as airy or quite as detailed as does justice for Patricia's singing or the instruments, the 99's give a good sense of the music and feeling of her singing. A bit too much emphasis ends up on the lower notes of the cello. 
 


 
Meze_99_Classics_DSCF4436.jpg
 
Overall the "consumer" tuning makes the 99s good all-rounders, best in my opinion with modern acoustic "fusion", such as the above Menahan Street Band track where the overall feeling and kick of the bass are important, and less so the micro-fine details. It can be a bit grating on more distorted recordings (Elbow) and is a little bit dark for preference for acoustic. All the same, the overall delivery was very good for a pair of $300 headphones. 

 
I think that a person newer to the hobby, buying their first pair of "audiophile" headphones will, unless they have very particular musical tastes (or very large ears) very much enjoy these headphones, compounded by their fantastically easy fit. Someone like me used to more expensive headphones may notice their flaws to some degree, but if you're looking for a comfortable, but not too expensive pair of over-ears to use for relaxing listening, or an attractive audio gift for someone, these might be the go.
 
2017 update: Here are pictures of them with the new, bigger pads. This makes the sound a bit more open-sounding.
 
Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02376.jpg Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02363.jpg Meze_99_Classics_New_Pads-DSC02375.jpg
Currawong
Currawong
Updated with pictures of the new pads.
Condocondor
Condocondor
Where did you get the pads?  What is the model number?
Currawong
Currawong
They sent me the pads, as they are now, as far as I know, the default option. Meze have a contact on Head-Fi that you can ask. 
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