Meze Audio 99 Classics - Reviews
Pros: Build quality - Design - Comfort - Energetic and reasonably balanced signature
Cons: Cloth cables are a tad noisy
 ​

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Greetings Head-fi!
 
The 99 Classics first appeared on my radar when I read @BloodyPenguin's review. Not only did his description of the 99 Classics sound intrigue me, but his images showed off the physical beauty of this amazing headphone. When I laid eyes on the 99 Classics, it was love at first sight.
 
When I saw that Meze was running a Canadian leg to their 99 Classics tour, it was pretty late in the application process. I'm not sure if it made a difference in @MezeTeam's selection process especially since I'm pretty inexperienced compared to the majority of their selected applicants, but I want to thank @nmatheis for putting in a good word for me.
 
When Meze contacted me to advise that I would be put on the tour, I was taken aback. This amazing looking pair of headphones would eventually serenade my ears, even if only for a short period. To say that I was stoked was an understatement. The best headphones I've heard/owned to date have been the UE6000, AKG K512 MKii, and my current favorite, the AKG K553 Pro. I was VERY excited to hear how the Meze 99 Classics would compare to these headphones which I have become very familiar with.
 
Disclaimer: The Meze 99 Classics were sent to me for seven (seemingly very short) days as part of their Canadian tour. I am in no way affiliated with Meze and receive no financial compensation for this review.
 
A little about me:
 
While I'm still pretty new to the world of hi-fi portable audio, my love of budget earphones and headphones has allowed me to more-or-less find my preferred signature. Don't think this means that I avoid variety, because that couldn't be further from the truth!
 
My gear is still pretty basic, consisting of the venerable Topping NX1, HTC One M8, and an Asus G73 laptop with Plantronics Rig USB amp. My current favorite earphone is the JVC HA-FXH30. I primarily listen to EDM (liquid drum and bass ftw), hip hop, and classic rock, but have been known to dabble in metal and jazz. While I enjoy a good sounding product, physical design is also key. If they look boring but sound great, that's cool, but I would like to have something interesting to look that is also great sounding. Since I have such an unnecessarily large collection of headphones and earphones, I spend just as much time listening to them as I do enjoying the variety of designs. Luckily, the 99 Classics had no problems nailing my criteria for beauty in both sound and design. Now, to the fun part.
 
*****
 
I flip back the magnetically sealed flap after spending a few moments dissecting the subtle images of the 99 Classics printed on the front and sides of the box. On the inside of the flap I see foam has been glued, preventing the beautifully molded case from being scratched or damaged in any way.
 
I reach into the box and lift out the hard EVA case. It molds to my hands. The leather texture feels premium to the touch, smooth but not slick. The zippers, thick and durable, fluidly move their way around the case, splitting it in two.
 
Tilting back the top half of the case I get my first glimpse of the 99 Classics. They look great in pictures, and even better in the flesh. I lift them out and set them to the side, picking up a small velvet case about the thickness of two hockey pucks. Coiled inside I find two cables, one for mobile use, one for home use. Let's set that aside too. Also inside is an airplane adapter and a 6.35mm adapter. Very nice. I zip up the case and return my gaze to the 99 Classics.
 
Wow, what a glorious looking headphone. My eyes flow from the golden inserts where the cables plug in, across the flawless surface of the wooden ear cups, up to the leather headband that arcs gracefully between the two cups. I could stare at these for hours, but if they sound as good as they look that would be a waste.
 
I plug the cable into each ear cup, lift the 99 Classics onto my head, and let them rest around my ears. Perfect. The weight distributes across my head flawlessly. My ears fit just inside the ear cups, held snug by the memory foam. Now this is comfort.
 
So, what to listen to? Some Crystal Method? I don't think so. Rage Against the Machine? Not quite. Tool? That could be nice, but it doesn't feel quite special enough. Oh! I know. Supertramp's Crime of the Century, one of my favorite albums of all time. That's the perfect choice.
 
I lay down on the couch, lean my head back, close my eyes, and hit 'play'. From the sweet harmonica intro of "School", to the Wurli piano solo in "Bloody Well Right", to the intense journey through jazz, rock, and progressive that is "Rudy", to the closing moments of "Crime of the Century", everything is played without effort. The emotion immaculately portrayed, no detail missed. Bass hits just right. Treble is prominent and sparkles with gusto. Hodgson's voice effortlessly echoes across the soundstage. My smile widens. Let's throw on King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" next...
 
*****
 
That was my intro to the 99 Classics, and an experience that carried over to practically every listening session I had with them. Their natural, slightly warm and mostly balanced sound, supreme comfort, and delicious good looks completely won me over. Not since first listening to the AKG K553 Pro, my primary headphone, was I so pleased.
 
Sound Impressions:
 
Since the K553 Pro was the best headphone I'd heard to date, it was only natural that this review compare the two. Prior to the 99 Classics crossing my path, the K553 Pro met pretty much all my needs. At times I felt they could be a little bright and their sub-bass presentation leaves a bit to be desired since they roll off early, but they offer up lots of detail with clean, smooth mids. As long as you avoid unnecessarily high volume listening, the AKG K553 Pro can be a very pleasant listen.
 
To my surprise I found the 99 Classics and K553 Pro similar in many aspects, though they did differ in some important criteria, those being the areas where I had issues with the AKG. Treble provided just enough shimmer along with lots of detail, and never approached discomfort or sibilance. The 99 Classics don't have quite the same extension as the K553 Pro, but they never felt like they were lacking in any way. Mids were just as clean and clear, handling anything I tossed at them with aplomb. I particularly enjoyed them with male vocals and the lengthy guitar solos you find in many classic rock tracks. Sub-bass met the needs that my AKG K553 Pro fails to address. The 99 Classics have just the right amount of extension and rumble to work with all of my favorite music, something the K553 misses the mark on. Mid-bass is punchy and reasonably quick, never bleeding into the mids. I enjoy the snappy sound of the K553 Pro, but the 99 Classics retains most of that energy while being easier on the ears and more versatile across a variety of genres. I'll chalk that up to their additional warmth and slightly more relaxed treble presentation.
 
Listening to all my favorite tracks again and again was nothing but pleasant, and there really wasn't anything about the 99 Classics that I disliked. They're just a darn good headphone. Every listen was an event, from the time I picked them up to examine their curvaceous design and flawless construction, to the last note played before they were returned to their case.
 
If I were to make any suggestions for improvements, it would have to go to the cables. They look beautiful and feel wonderful, but being cloth-covered meant they could be a bit noisy, and will likely be subject to fraying down the road. Still, this is a VERY minor issue in my opinion, and is pretty much negligible.
 
I can't say much on isolation since they were used only indoors in a relatively quite environment (no way I'm taking a loaner outside!!). That said, they were able to adequately block my lovely fiancee's music and videos, so there's something.
 
Summary:
 
The 99 Classics are my favorite audio device, hands down. The unboxing experience leaves nothing to be desired. Simple but effective. The accessories are of high quality. The headphones themselves are drop dead gorgeous. All that backed by amazing sound quality means the 99 Classics are just a stunningly good piece and worth every penny.
 
Thank you @MezeTeam for giving me the opportunity to try these out, and for exposing me to my new favorite headphone. I'm excited to see what you have in store for us later this year. If you ever run another Canadian tour, I'll be the first to sign up!
 
Thanks for reading!
 
- B9Scrambler
Bansaku
Bansaku
Great review!
jinxy245
jinxy245
Very nice review...I enjoyed the description of your aural journey.
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
Thanks guys! I found the soundstage on the K553 slightly larger. For a closed back they're pretty spacious. The 99 Classics have a pretty average soundstage in my opinion. Still, it works well with their signature so no complaints here.
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. 
Pros: Solid quality build, Good instrument separation / sound stage, Well balanced sound, Exciting 'live feel'
Cons: Cup fit may be uncomfortable for some, Microphonic cable
Introduction
 
As other reviewers have already posted pics, company info etc I mainly want to talk about how they sound.
I am a Sound Engineer and Producer by trade, an Audiophile for pleasure and sometimes a Music Lover as well :) 
I listen to all genres but prefer 'Hi Res' 24/96 / Vinyl rips / SACD. My main DAP is the iBasso DX80
 
In Brief...
 
High's
 
The highs have been wonderfully tuned, no sibilance yet never lacking in clarity or detail. I confess to
being a bit of a 'high head' and not so much a 'bass head' Im also not a huge fan of 'warm sounding' headphones
but I find the silky smooth crisp highs to be SO nice on these headphones.
Listening to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holiday is simply divine
 
Mid's
 
Seem well tuned and sit nicely in their own area without being adversely effected by lows and highs
Look to other reviews for a more detailed analysis in this area! (to be honest, mid's are not my strong point)
 
Lows
 
This is where it gets interesting for me. the bass is certainly a part of what this headphone is about. You
wont ever find it lacking! I am no bass head so for me this is perhaps the only thing I would personally like
to see toned down a bit. Another reviewer touched on this adding that 'although it is always there, its not really a
problem'...but can be noticeable. However, when the bass works, it works Really well.
Classical music is an absolute delight with cello bass for example, sounding warm and natural.
Its important to add though that even when the bass is a tad prominent [for me] the mids and highs still shine and
maintain their presence... a lovely quality of this headphone
The Meze 99's are a good example of a headphone that rewards you with well mixed and mastered audio 
 
Soundstage
 
I think most reviews have reported the Meze 99's as having a wide sound stage, especially for a closed back headphone 
I would agree with this but at times I have noticed that the sound stage has two other qualities that I really enjoy:
 
1, They have a lovely 3D sound stage. Sometimes with classical you can hear and clearly visualise where the various
instruments where in the auditorium during the recording session. There can therefore be a wonderful sense of space with
each instrument having its own space to shine in - useful if you are a Bach lover!
If the singer or band where recording in an area that had a lot of space these headphones do a delightful job of reproducing this
 
2, One thing I noticed today was how the sound stage is not only great in the left and right but also does a great job filling in
the middle as well, something I didn't realise other headphones don't always do so well until listening to the Meze 99's!
 
Due to these points I find these to be something of an 'Audiophile' headphone in that they are great for detail.
 
Over all sound
 
Meze claim to have produced a neutral tuned and warm [fun?] sounding headphone. I find this a bit of a contradiction!
not in a bad way although I do find elements of both [neutral & fun]
 
When I read that these headphones had been tuned neutral I was excited because as an Audiophile I seek neutral headphones
so that I can enjoy music that is well mixed and mastered on a DAP that has the quality, presicion and power to replicate as
close as possible, the sound of the original studio recording
When I read they had a 'warm wood earcup sound' and (did I read 'fun' somewhere?) I was also looking forward to this because sometimes
I just like to listen to and enjoy music ( as oppose to 'critical detail' Audiophile listening!!)
To be fair, it must be difficult to find a balance between tuning a 'neutral' headphone whilst keeping them interesting to listen to as well
I feel Meze has done a very good job here with this although they don't sound to me like how the graph appears :) 
 
So I find myself very happy and yet a tiny bit dissapointed with these headphones.
A tad dissapointed because... I don't think they could be considered 'Audiophile' headphones BUT if that bass was a tad more balanced . . .  
they would start getting into that area.
To be fair though Meze have not sold them as such and I say this, if anything, as a compliment.
I find myself very happy with these headphones though because they are such fun to listen too...for pleasure!
 
>>> In essence, they have an energy, a life to them which reminds me of that 'live music feeling' you get at concerts.
As soon as I put them on for the first time they just seemed to sing, straight out of the box. They seemed so happy and excited to play
some music for me :)  They are a very endearing headphone and I already find they have a place in my heart
 
The bad
 
The cups - I have to agree with other reviewers - I have small ears and the fit is snug so for people with big ears...?
 
The cable - If i scratch to cable above the cinch it sounds like my fingers are scratching inside the cups themselves! I tend to listen to headphones
lying down so this is not as issue for me, but the microphonics are not great
 
The bass - sometimes can be a little intrusive to my tastes but not to the degree that is becomes a problem
 
Conclusion
 
In conclusion the only downsides are the cable and the small cups (which may effect some)
I feel they are priced about right.
I think Meze have done a great job, producing a lovingly well made, high quality headphone with an interesting & wonderfully energetic, engaging sound
that when given well mixed and mastered audio will give great delight and a wonderful dynamic experience to the listener 
To give a score out of 100 I would probably only take off 10-15 points
 
thank you Meze! I will be keeping a very close eye out for future headphones
Pros: Quality Build, General Honest Sound, No Hype
Cons: Fit / Size Issues, Mids, Lacking Low Sub Bass
Meze 99 Classic
This is my first review. I was part of the review tour. I want to thank Meze for doing this. 

Background
I'm a lifelong musician, live and studio sound engineer, always with heavy duty earplugs. Often the only one in my band wearing them, but then, I've retained my unusually sensitive hearing because of it. I've tried too many headphones and in ears to list. I'll refer to what I've tried where it's relevant in the review, to keep it simple. I've got some I'm happy with now, but I'm never tired of trying new things, so that brought me to these.

What I Look For
I prefer warmer headphones, full lower mids, flat mids, reduced high mids. More than a moderate mid bass bump bothers me, and sub bass rarely extends low enough in most quality cans I'll try. I'll say "quality" since there are plenty that are explosive down there, but often at the expense of everything else. Some have said you can't have all frequencies well represented, but enough come close to this, so I know this can be done.

Common Issues
Fit has had me reject 80% of what I've tried. I much prefer over-ear. It's hard enough to get over-ear to go over everyone's ears (Senn. Momentum 1 for example, Momentum 2 isn't much better). My ears fairly flat and proportional to being 6'5". My head is also, with Triple X hat size (few of those fit either). Most companies could fit larger heads, with an inch more band extension, but only some seem to take that into consideration.

Design and Comfort
These arrived well package and designed. Nice solid case and aesthetics. Very light yet sturdy. The wood is a nice touch but as long as headphones don't look ridiculous, I'm more into the sound aspect (and the fit, naturally). The band auto-fits easily, though like many with this design on me, they tend to contract a bit when worn and have to be pulled back down sometimes. The design seems to allow some flex to fit you better.

Still there was no way I would attempt radically bending these. Fully extended they just reached my ears but they exert pressure on the top part of the cup likely due to the width of my head, so I can not keep them on long. The pads are soft, not quite deep enough, and could be a bit longer top to bottom to fit my above average ears. This could reduce the bass a little more, but that could be addressed, in voicing the driver itself.

Sound Quality and Ideas
As commonly happens, I find them brighter than what I read in reviews, but not at all harsh. They do clarity very well, without sibilance or hype. This early in the game, they tamed one of the most difficult areas. There seems to be a mid-fi quality to them. A notch above Creative Aurvana Live! 2, but below the Sony MDR-Z7 / Sennheiser HD650. It's hard to quantify, but often (not always) cans can sound more or less "expensive".

The high mids are just right, blending with the highs perfectly. Another big win. The true mids (roughly 500 hz to 2 khz) are flat, which to my ears is a bit more than I'd like. Particularly in the 1 khz area. Some have put dips there (Audio Quest Nighthawk V1 (should a V2 be in the works) that are too much, and some are worse there (some AKG). This isn't very bothersome, it's just slightly north of what I'd like, in these headphones.

The lower mids seem a bit recessed. I'd call them just south of flat. Not as lacking as you think for two reasons. One, many like it just north of flat to warm it up. Two, the mids I talk about, and a slightly north of flat mid bass make these seem to be less than they really are. So these are actually close to just right. 1 db more, carefully done to avoid resonant "hollow" "ringy" sound some (as the ATH-M50 for example) can suffer from. 

The mid bass is perfect. Just the right amount of boost. Not an overbearing "boop" in the kick drums that bother me in the higher end Fostex, not scooped like the Sennheiser HD380. The fun starts to end under 40 hz where it rolls off. This is common. Just slightly below where a Sennheiser HD650 rolls off. Extending slightly farther than the HD650, but leaving me wishing for more extension, with less roll off, to complete things.

How They Make This Better
They look like high grade home use in pictures. Out of the box - they're smaller and lighter than you expect, with mid grade sound. The above sonic ideas would help. What bugs me about attempts at portable is this. If they don't fold, and foldability depends on thin cups, make the cups thicker. Companies should try on the cans, and when normal ears barely fit / touch the driver, make thicker & longer pads. This may impact bass.

Thus they should implement sonic changes to allow that. You can have longer, deeper pads with more sub bass (the Sony MDR-Z7 for example). The larger area around the ears should improve the spatial depth as that is another area lacking, as it does on most cans that barely get around your ears (ie. Momentum 2, Beats Studio, etc.). They could even look at angled drivers, some have that to add more natural spaciousness.

Given this is my first review, I hope I was still able to convey my ideas. These headphones don't hype things, and have potential small acoustic area and tuning changes that could bring big results. I could mostly trust mixing on these if I had to (though I prefer to mix with studio monitors and a properly set up sub in a properly set up room). I can't say that about many headphones. Keep up the good work Meze and keep us posted.
reddog
reddog
A very nice review, that has lots of information, especially on ear size and the ear hitting the driver.
jon parker
jon parker
Thanks for your review. you have added a few more details on top of other reviews which is most helpful
agree 100% on this point you raised "have potential small acoustic area and tuning changes that could bring big results"
Thanks :)
Mark Up
Mark Up
Thanks folks. jinxy245 - One star off for sound, very good, but not quite there. One star off for fit. These I consider accurate in general. Just not ideal for what I like, which I've described in my sonic suggestions.

PS: jinxy245 - You have accidently posted your comment twice. You can delete one of them if you'd like.
Pros: Very nice, smooth sound. Fancy-schmany design. Pretty comfy.
Cons: Small cups. Shallow pads. Microphonic cable.

November 2016 Update

​I wanted to come back to these and let you all know that I bought my very own pair of Walnut and Silver 99 Classics at RMAF. I also had Maze send me the new, deeper pads. I'm so impressed with how Maze has responded to the community here on headfi. I'd suggested a less bling-bling design with silver instead of gold in my review, and they quickly responded. I also suggested deeper pads, and they responded to that, too. With that, the only complaint I have is with microphonics and would suggest that Maze look into putting a plasticized sheath above the y-splitter to cut down on the rubbing microphonics I get with the fabric cover. Other than that, Meze's got it nailed with these!
 
And I want to give a big shout out to Antonio and Mircea from Maze. I met them, and we chatted a bit at RMAF. Seriously cool cats!
 

 

INTRODUCTION

Okay guys, this strange introduction. When I saw the Meze 99 Classics pop up in the sponsors forum, I didn't give it that much thought. Blinged-put woodies didn't look like my thing. Then one of my Head-Fi buddies PM'ed me and asked if I was going to review them. I've reviewed a fair amount of IEM and portable source gear but am a bit of a noob with headphones, but I thought I'd at least poke around and find out what these were. Searching the forums for Meze brought up some controversial posts regarding Meze's previous headphones. Go ahead, do a search sometime and see what you find. With that information in mind, I was intrigued and figured these deserved a listen. Would they stir up more controversy? Would they be the headphone that puts Meze firmly on the map? I wanted to find out of myself, so I threw in for the review tour. For those of you too impatient to wait for the end, I'll let you know right now that while not perfect the 99 Classics are a great-sounding headphone that suits my tastes very nicely but comes with a few caveats that I'll deal with in the review.
 
ABOUT US
OUR STORY
As a team directly involved in arts and sports, we, here at Meze Headphones understand that music is not just a pastime but a way of life. Whenever we're creating or performing we're accompanied by our favorite tracks. We designed our headphones to transpose you in our world. The real wood design was specifically created to offer a warm sound, a sound that you can enjoy no matter the situation. Experience your music in a new way. Let us take you on the journey we followed, to the perfect natural sound.
 
OUR MISSION
Our mission is fairly simple: to raise the bars in terms of audio quality and design for headphones in general. We want you to feel the music you like, we want to give you the chance to enjoy that special song, just as the original artist intended it to sound. Besides offering a crisp and clear sound, our headphones will leave people wondering what is that special song that you're listening to. Allow yourself to experience music like never before, comfortably and with style.
 
OUR CUSTOMERS
Our first concern is to satisfy you, our fans and customers. Our customer support team is always looking to deliver the best solutions and answers to all of your questions. So, do not hesitate to ask us anything. We will get back to you as soon as possible. And do not forget: we're looking forward to your feedback.
 
PHILOSOPHY
MOTIVATION
Our passion for music and art is the drive behind Meze Headphones. We created our range of headphones and earphones with this aspect in mind. We created them as if for ourselves.
VALUES
Meze Headphones has stood by its values since the beginning of the company. We did not follow trends and let them influence the audio quality and design of our headphones. They are timeless objects that will not go out of style the next season. We achieved this through patience and dedication.
 
PEOPLE
The team behind Meze Headphones is a team of passionate specialists, with backgrounds in sound engineering, product design, crafting, and music.
 
TECHNOLOGY 
Since wood is the trademark of our company, we make sure that each and every pair of headphones and earphones are carefully crafted from selected lumber.
 
We chose to use only air dried walnut lumber for the spectacular colors that it can display. As a result, we have to wait up to eighteen months for the lumber to dry so that we can shape the wood into the emblematic Meze Headphones look. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient because we know that the end result is worth the wait.
 
The process of shaping just a single pair of earcups takes up to 8 hours. The whole process of sanding, lacquering, and finishing lasts 45 days. We could cut corners but we take great pride in delivering the best product to our customers.
 
The craftsmanship of our headphones and earphones is paramount. The wooden components of our products are carefully inspected and no flaws are permitted to reach the final assembly. Aesthetics are as important for us as they are for you. We want you to wear a pair of Meze Headphones and know that you are enjoying a timeless art piece.
 
We are using walnut wood for its sturdiness and for its acustic qualities. Although harder to find and to work with, we chose walnut for the brighter, more balanced sound that it offers to our headphones. Simply put, it is a blend of technology, art, and nature.
 
It is well to mention that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycles. This way, we are helping the environment and we're giving the old trees a chance to shine one more time in the shape of Meze Headphones.
 
 
LINKS OF INTEREST
Meze 99 Classics Page: LINK
Meze 99 Classics Tour Thread: LINK
Meze 99 Classics Thread: LINK
 
 

DISCLAIMER

There is no financial incentive from Meze for writing this review. I am in no way affiliated with Meze, and this is my honest opinion of the 99 Classics. I hope my feedback proves useful for my fellow Head-Fi members as well as for Meze.
 
 

ABOUT ME

I'm a 43 year old father who loves music. While I listen mostly to electronic and metal these days, I do listen to a wide variety of music - from electronic (Autechre, Boards of Canada) to modern/minimalist composition (John Cage, Philip Glass) to alternative rock (Flaming Lips, Radiohead) to jazz (John Coltrane and Miles Davis) to metal (Behemoth, King Diamond) to classic rock (Eagles, Rush).  
 
I'm primarily a portable audio enthusiast. My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders (still have my Sharp DR7), and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-1xx, iPod 5.5, iPhones, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso.
 
Being a portable audio enthusiast, I typically listen with IEMs but am enjoying listening with full-size headphones more and more and tend to like u-shaped sound signatures, although I break out v-shaped IEM & HP from time to time for fun.
 
As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues. I've got mild tinnitus and suffer from allergies, which can affect hearing in my right ear. I'll admit it, I'm not blessed with a pair of golden ears. That said, I've been listening to portable gear for a long time and feel confident in assessing audio gear - just wanted to be transparent up front.



 
 

SPECIFICATIONS



  1. Transducer Type: Dynamic Neodymium / Mylar
  2. Transducer Size: 40mm
  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 or maple
  11. Weight: 290g
  12. MSRP: $309
  13. Warranty: 2 years

 
 

PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES



As usual, I'll go over the packaging and accessories in pictorial format with a wrap at the end. 
 
UNBOXING
Meze99Classics-15.jpg
 
WHAT YOU GET
  1. 99 Classics
  2. 1.2m OFC cable with microphone and Play/Pause button
  3. 3m OFC cable
  4. Airplane adapter
  5. 1/4 inch adapter
  6. Cable pouch
  7. Headphone travel case
  8. Manual
 
 

BUILD & ERGONOMICS

Again, I'll attack this section in pictorial format, commenting on what I like and what I think could be improved as I go.
 
CHOICES...
Meze99Classics-17.jpg
 
When I first saw a picture of the 99 Classics on the tour accouncement, I honestly thought they looked a bit too bling-bling. My recommendation was to replace all the gold trim with silver to tone things down a bit. Well, you know what? Meze listened, and they've now added a black/silver/walnut model to the lineup in addition to the original black/gold/walnut and white/silver/maple models.
 
 
 
MEET the Meze 99 Classics
Meze99Classics-16.jpg
 
 
CABLE
Meze99Classics-18.jpg
 
When handling the 99 Classics, it was immediately apparent that a lot of thought went into their design. Simple and elegant are words that came to mind. A bit bling-bling, yes, but that can be overcome by choosing the black/silver/walnut model. 
 
What did I like? I like the very comfortable self-adjusting suspension headband, comfortable ear pads, just right clamping force, pivoting cups, and the fact that the 99 Classics are primarily a metal + wood design held together with screws instead of glue. 
 
What did I think could be improved? I'm not a fan of the cups, which aren't wide enough and end up feeling a bit cramped and kind of like a hybrid on/over ear design. My biggest recommendation to Meze is to strongly consider using a wider cup to give our ears a bit more breathing room. My second biggest recommendation is to make the pads a bit thicker, so my ears don't touch the drivers. My third recommendation is to lose the fabric sheath above the y-splitter cable to reduce microphonics. My final recommendation is to have the cable exit at a slight angle to the front. The straight-down exit combined with the fabric sheath caused a lot of scratchy microphonics whenever the cable brushed against my shoulders. Change these while keeping the same sound, and I'm all in Meze!
 
Just a note that these don't fold flat. Didn't bother me, as I'd probably use these in the office but it might bother some of you so just be aware.
 
 
 
SOUND
Those of you who know me know that I've been listening to a lot of classic rock, electronic and metal lately. I might throw in some hard bop jazz or modern minimalist composition every now and then, too. Just wanted to make sure you know what kind of music I listen to for context. Unlike some other reviewers, I don't keep to a strict playlist (although I do have some songs I do always end up listening to). Instead, I choose songs I know well and feel like listening to. I feel it's more organic that way. I try to get at least 16/44 FLAC but don't shy away from using AAC or MP3 if that's what I've got on-hand. Anyways, on with the show, eh...
 
I listened to the 99 Classics out of various sources from my iPhone 5S, various DAPs, and the Apogee Groove. I also did some casual comparisons with my AKG K553 Pro and Philips Fidelio L1.
 
Here's the FR curve Meze threw up on their website, along with the following quote: "
Artificially tweaked frequencies: Meze's solution - Tuning a balanced natural sound"
Meze99ClassicsFR.jpg
 
So did Meze succeed in creating a balanced, natural sound? Well, I think from the introduction you can tell I thought the answer is a yes. For context, I was just coming off the HiFiMan Edition X headphones (LINK to review) when I received the Meze 99 Classics. In fact, @grizzlybeast and I swapped the 99 Classics and HEX at our usual drop off spot, which quite amused @MezeTeam who thought it sounded very Noir-ish! Anyways, back to our story. Erm, I mean review... HEX were the best headphones I've heard to date, so I was figuring I'd be underwhelmed with the 99 Classics. But when first plugging them into my iPhone 5S for a quick listen, I read liked what I heard. Nice tastefully enhanced bass that felt a bit loose. Neutral mids. Smooth as silk treble. Good (but not great) soundstage. Ahh... Very easy to listen to. Moving on to my DAPs tightened things up a bit. The punchy bass extends deep with just a slight mid-bass hump. Mids again remain neutral and sound very natural. Treble remains clear and detailed but without accentuating sibilance. Soundstage gets a bit bigger but is still constrained by the closed nature of the 99 Classics.
 
As mentioned above, I primarily listened to the 99 Classics with classic rock, electronic, and metal. I found it well-suited for those genres. Older, leaner classic rock recordings were filled out quite nicely. Bass kept up with my electronic collection pretty well, although the soundstage was a bit limiting. As far as metal, I don't listen to tech-death so can't comment on how technically capable these are for the more demanding sub-genres. However, the 99 Classics do pass my black metal test of allowing me to listen to black metal classics without feeling like my eardrums are being impaled. Score!!!
 
Compared to my AKG K553 Pro, the 99 Classics sound much more natural with more action in the lower end and less action up top. The way the 99 Classics handles things is much more to my taste and is just another nail in the coffin for my K553 Pro, which are in the For Sale forums right now should you be a neutral head who wishes to take them off my hands.
 
Compared to my Philips Fidelio L1, the 99 Classics sound much livelier with higher quality bass and increased upper mid and treble presence. I've been feeling that the L1 are too dark and veiled for my tastes for a while, and again this was the nail in the coffin. If you'd like a pair of L1, please visit the For Sale forums and take them off my hands.
 
 

SUMMARY

So, does all this mean I'm ready to sell off my lesser-used cans and buy the 99 Classics? Nope, and I'll tell you why. Despite really, really enjoying the sound, comfort, and build quality, I'm not a fan of the narrow cups. I need just a bit more room, and I've got smallish ears for a 5' 9" guy. If the ear cups were bigger and the pads a bit deeper, I can see this easily being my pair of "office cans". As mentioned above, I'd also love to see the fabric removed above the y-splitter, but this is something I could overcome with an aftermarket cable so it's not a biggie. But those cups just didn't get along well with my ears. Does that mean they won't get along with your ears? Nope. They might be perfect for you, so if you're looking for a new pair of smooth, natural sounding woodies, please give the 99 Classics a look!
 
To wrap, I'd like to give a big thanks to @MezeTeam for choosing me to participate in this tour. After this, I'm really looking forward to the next headphones from Meze!
reddog
reddog
I a great review, full of information, made for a fun read. I also like the photos.
Bansaku
Bansaku
Nice review! :)
Laura Jia
Laura Jia
Hello
I am Laura. sorry to interrupt you. Could you review our BT earphones? 
here is my email: laura@ivafee.com
I don't know how to get touch with you.
I look forward to your reply.
Best Regards,
Laura
Pros: Beautiful, Great Build Quality, Fun Sound, Easy to drive
Cons: Sound signature lean toward energetic fun, with the bass a bit bloated
Meze 99 Classics mini-Review
 
Introduction:
Let me start by stating that this is my third review of an audio product. I am an audio enthusiast, being that I spend tons of money on decent audio gear. I can tell what sounds good to me, and that generally falls in line with the general consensus amongst fellow audio enthusiasts. So take from this what you can, especially with my lack of audio vocab.  I have had 5 days to evaluate these headphones, so this is a mini-review at most.
 
Equipment wise, I own/have owned HT Omega Claro Halo, K702, HD650, K550, Beats Studio, SE535 Reshelled (CIEM), Xiaomi Piston 2, TTPOD T1-E, Xuelin ihifi960, Blox BE03, Brainwavz S5, Bravo Audio Ocean, PreSonus HP4, Racoon SG-300, Audio Technica AT-LP120 Modded, Anthem Integrated 225, Burson Soloist, Supreme Sound Lycan. So I get a good sense of what I can get in terms of sound quality for the extra cost. My favourite combination is Foobar with ASIO playback to HT Omega to my K702. The source is very important, and most of my music is in FLAC.
 
Methodology:
The source of this review will be my Xuelin DAP (ihifi960), HT Omega Claro Halo, and LG G3. No separate amps will be added to the mix.
 
Meze 99 Classics is a low impedance closed headphone, and it will mainly be compared to my K702, and Beats by Dre Studio.
 
Build Quality and Ergonomics:
The "99s" looks drop dead gorgeous. It exhibits exceptionally beautiful craftsmanship from the first moment I laid my eyes on them. The soft PU leather feels great, though I wished that they were a tad thicker to allow the pads to seal even better. The stitching on the pads has some imperfections, but only the moderate OCD person will be bothered by it. The wood and metallic parts are all manufactured beautifully. The 99s are very light and comfy on the head, and can be worn for extended periods without fatigue.  The internal spring mechanism hides beautifully within the leather band, however; it occasionally will catch my hair. The cord is good looking and plenty adequate for a headphone asking $300+.
 
Sound Quality:
 
Soundstage is very good for closed headphones. I feel that it is approximately 75% that of the K702s which has a huge soundstage. In my experience, it is only bested in this area by the K550s.
 
The highs are quite detailed. It doesn't extend very high, though that is not all bad. The highs feel smooth and soft.
 
The mids are very forward, a little too much so in my taste. It does make some genres more fun eg. R&B, Pop, EDM.
 
The bass is very powerful; in some regards too much. It over-emphasizes the bass similar to the way Beats by Dre Studio does it. It is very good at massaging the ear drum, and makes you feel like you are at a club. The bass will bleed into the other frequencies, and lack a bit of control. It just contributes to its unique sound signature. Again, being that I prefer the more analytical approach of the K702s, the 99s not necessarily suit my taste, especially when I already own the Beats Studio already.
 
Conclusion:
These headphones are beautiful. If you want to convey to others that you are a person of sophistication and class, these are the headphones to get. That's without even talking about the sound quality. Let's not dismiss what is in my opinion a great asset for the 99s, low impedance. These headphones are light with low impedance; that makes for an awesome on-the-go pair of cans. If these were around when the Beats by Dre Studios hit the market, I would have purchased these in a heartbeat. They give me the same pleasure as the Studio in terms of enjoying Billboard's top 100 etc, with the bonus of not requiring additional amplification (Studios require 2 AAA).
When comparing to K702s, they are too different. Though they costs approximately the same, the K702s are soft and controlled, compared to the in-your-face nature of the 99s. It's not that if you like the K702s, then you won't like the 99s. They are actually quite complimentary; I would want the K702s at home for relaxed or critical listening. I would want the 99s for commuting, where the closed back design eliminates most of the busy world while sounding good from my DAP or phone.
 
Personal Note: Due to the relative easy nature of the assembly/disassembly of the 99s, I am very curious to see how the community will develop around these; whether home hobbyists will alter the wooden cups or the pads for a more custom approach.
 
20160128_231343.jpg
 
 
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20160128_231542.jpg
Bansaku
Bansaku
Nice review!
reddog
reddog
A good review with good information and pictures.
Pros: Excellent attack, cohesive, easy listening, nice midrange, decent soundstage
Cons: looks may be a bit flashy w/ the gold version for some. Not fully over ear

MEZE 99 CLASSICS mini-REVIEW

SAM_1869_Fotorfas.jpg
 
 ​


Intro

I signed up for the tour that Meze solicited for after being approached by them to give their headphones a listen. I have no ties or any personal bias so as always below is my honest opinion of these headphones. I just want to give a run down of the usual categories. I will start by saying that this is a very good headphone by Meze. 
 

Design/ Comfort ​

hgj.jpg
The Meze 99 Classics have a sturdy and practical build that looks like a headphone for home usage but functions like a portable. The suspension strap provides effortless adjustment even for larger heads like my own. The headphone cups don't fold or bend but there is a pivot point under the gold plated joint caps that give enough way for an easy fit on various head shapes. It did take a little finagling to get a good fit but once I have a good seal I rarely find the need to reposition the headphones. While I wish every single headphone company in the world would avoid the half over ear, half on ear design I find these decently comfortable. The padding is somewhat soft yet my ears touch the inside of the cloth covering the driver and my ears are a little crammed inside.
 
The isolation is pretty good and sound leakage is minimal. This would make an excellent work tool. Especially considering its sturdy, modular build. 
asgf.jpg
 
The cables are detachable and are dual entry. The cups are of a non glossy wood and everything else is metal. I find no plastic parts anywhere in the headphone. The 99's are of a premium build with good attention to aesthetics.
 
From the Meze Website:
 

"FEATURES

We aimed for perfection in every component it designed. CNC carved wood ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam, soft PU leather are the materials your hands and eyes will get to enjoy. No plastic here for you to see.

Besides the usual warranty everybody is offering we guarantee that the 99's are endlessly serviceable if any parts would ever need to be replaced because we did not build this headphones for them to break after 2 years so you can go buy new ones. No glue, just nuts and bolts."

Specs / Accessories

PRICE 309.00_USD

SFXCFB.jpgsgsagf.jpg
erg.jpg
 
 ​
FROM SITE

"SPECS

Transducer size: 40mm

Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
  1. Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
  2. Impedance: 32Ohm
  3. Rated input power: 30mW
  4. Maximum input power: 50mW
  5. Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
  6. Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
  7. Ear-cups: walnut wood"
 
Accessories
Portable cable w/mute button
Extra long cable
Airplane adapter
1/4 inch adapter
Cable pouch
Headphone travel case
Manual

 ​

Sound

sdfghs.jpg
Gear used
2015 iMac 27 inch 5k
Geek Pulse Infinity
Tidal
Sound Cloud
Personal library of electronic, Hip hop, Soul, and many others of various formats

Frequency response summary

The Meze is a very musical headphone with a slightly elevated bass response, even natural midrange, and smooth unoffensive high end. Think HD650 with a better reach down low, less extension in the treble, less upper mids, and possibly slightly rougher in the treble but about the same quantity. This is a very agreeable headphone and overall I would say it is tuned very nicely for my tastes. 
 
Bass
The classics have a slightly fast decay on the bass but the attack, while punchy, is a bit murky at times yet still adequately solid. It's ability to sustain a deep rumble is fair but it's punchiness is very good. The bass slam is fairly weighted but not like a planar. The sub bass reaches pretty low to my ears. Even though the sub bass sounds elevated and the mid bass hump isn't really overdone, the kick drums are where this headphone displays it's tactility. 
 
Midrange 
The midrange of the Meze is very cohesive, full in the middle mids, not overly thick in the lower midrange, and a bit tapered in the upper mids. Sometimes I want a more airy sound with sharper presence region but unlike the MH40 I had a while back I rarely feel like its too overcast / murky sounding. There is enough clarity in the midrange to keep me satisfied and vocals sound great to me. There are only a couple of closed back headphones I have heard in it's price range to best it in overall transparency but the midrange on the 99's is a believable one. 
 
Treble
I find the headphone to be a little tinted with the ability to reveal sibilants and treble detail. The treble doesn't sound really airy but sparkle is present with high hats and cymbals being aloud to have their freedom without making you squint. You will be able to tell the poor recordings fairly easily vs the bad ones with this one. 

 

Technicalities 

This headphone has one of my most sought after qualities in music...punch. This headphones transient response works like a well lubricated set of pistons as the music drives the transducers into a very engaging performance. Everything pops, snaps, flickers, clicks, and sings on these set of cans. The instrument separation is great as well as the imaging for such a little headphone, while not the best in its price, it is still exceptional. 
 
The soundstage is pretty decent as well. It sounds as if the music is decently spread out on the sides with a little bit of depth too. This is not just the flat and wide soundstage but a wholistic picture of soundscape. If the headphone had better treble extension it would really showcase what it has here. While I don't feel like I am listening to an open back headphone, I also don't hear too much clutter. This is a very nimble headphone with sounds being easily drawn out of the recording to dance in their own spaces. 
 
 

CONCLUSION/VALUE

 
SFXCFB.jpg
 
 ​
At 309.00 the Meze proves that good things do come in small packages and at a good value. I also have become aware that Meze will have different color schemes for those not so keen on a flashy look and want a more low profile piece of gear. This headphone earns an easy recommendation for those seeking good sound that offers some mobility and hours of fatigue free listening. In fact, this headphone will be on my shortlist when the time comes again for me to need a portable headphone... which may be soon. 
 
Two thumbs up!
grizzlybeast
grizzlybeast
Kinda jonesing for these.
pablodiablo
pablodiablo
@GBansaku
 
You're kind of reinforcing my point.  The better loudspeaker manufacturers don't use solid wood cabinets, like you seem to believe.  Solid wood, especially hardwoods, tend to be extremely resonant, making them great for building instruments, like drums, but horrible for making speaker cabinets.  Manufacturers like Wilson Audio use acoustically inert materials like MDF for the cabinets in order to eliminated resonance within the cabinet.  My Paradigm Studio Reference 100s have a beautiful rosewood finish, but it's just a veneer applied to the MDF the cabinets are made of.  I'd hardly call my Paradigms 'cheapo.'  Certainly not the $200,000 Wilsons I listened to last week.  The loudspeaker designers I've personally spoken with include Clayton Shaw of Spatial Audio, Robert Lee of Acoustic Zen and Sean Casey of Zu audio.  They would all disagree with pretty much everything you just said.
 
Bottom line:  exotic woods impress neophytes and charlatans, but are a sign of inferior design for those of us who actually grasp the nuances of hi-fi audio.
MezeTeam
MezeTeam
Pros: Great sound balance, Good sound stage despite closed back, Very comfortable, High quality build
Cons: Slighty microphonic cable
Meze99Classicgold.jpg
I have these headphones on loan from ifi Audio/Meze headphones due in part to my iClub membership and I thank both companies for this opportunity.
But rather than spend time on specifications let me get straight on with practicalities and sound quality if I may as the specs are well covered in other posts and reviews already.
The Meze headphones are nicely packaged and look and feel more premium product than I was expecting at their listed price. The wooden ear cups are especially good looking. They are very comfortable although they are over ear are not as large as the HD700s. They do not feel hot or heavy over a protracted period of listening and don’t have any pressure points. The headband especially is nice and wide so making it an easy and comfortable fit wherever you position them on your head.
I used them with my laptop/ifi micro iDSD/iUSB power/iP2 system using Tidal Hi Fi as source and compared them to my existing headphone of choice for that system which is the Sennheiser HD700.
Albums included……..
Aretha, Chain of fools
James Bay, Chaos & the calm
Dusty, In Memphis
Eagles, Hotel California
Keb Mo', Keb Mo'
Leon Bridges, Coming Home
Lou, Transformer
Rickie Lee Jones, RLJ
Gregory Porter, Liquid Spirit
Bob Marley, Legend
T.Rex, Electric Warrior
First I have to say I found it very difficult to concentrate on individual tracks and found myself drifting off and just enjoying the music. Perhaps that is enough of a review right there?
Secondly and more perplexing I found it really difficult to choose which headphone I preferred overall. They both had individual strengths but I found time and time again I thought I had a winner only to change my mind when I swapped back.
In terms of bass then the Meze is warmer and has a more obvious bass component but is not any more extended than the HD700 and is not a loose or thick bass. It sounds like you had activated the X bass on the micro iDSD and then left it out in the HD700. 
The midranges of the 2 headphones are very close to ideal with the HD700 a bit more neutral and the Meze slightly more forward but left me unable to say which I would prefer overall.
In the treble the HD700 feels more extended while the Meze is certainly not rolled off but just a little less crystal clear. I am sure that many people would find the Meze almost perfect in this respect but for me it was like the bass situation but reversed if you get my meaning.
So on balance and if I had to choose only one based on sound across the board I would take the Meze by a hairs breadth.
What the HD700 now does to turn the table back is to present a bigger, wider and more focussed sound stage. The Meze is very good and for a closed back phone very good compared to others I have heard. The HD700 is closer to my preferred imaging again by a small amount.
So, and this is where my dilemma rests. I cannot say which overall I would pick and this despite I have paid my own money for the HD700s.
If I was travelling a lot and needed more noise isolation then the Meze would be great. Likewise if I am at home and the family are not using all the Wi-Fi bandwidth then I might stick with the HD700s.
It’s too close to call and much closer than I expected, and how and where did Meze get the expertise to develop these headphones compared to one of the biggest audiophile headphone companies globally?
Let me conclude by saying the Meze 99 Classics are surprisingly good headphones of any type for the money and I could happily use them on a daily basis.
Dear ifi Audio & Meze thanks for the loan, and are you sure that you want them back???????    
barondla
barondla
Meze website says $309. Thought that might be more.
Dadracer
Dadracer
Thanks and I didn't put the price on as I am not certain what the UK (my home) price will be in £GBP but the Euro price is on their website at €309. 
Murf926
Murf926
I've had my Meze 99 Classics for about 3 weeks now.  I ordered them because every review I read rated them very highly and described a sound profile that was just about exactly what I was looking for.  I have to say that I was blown away by how wonderful they sound!  They were everything I had hoped for and then some!  After listening to them I would have gladly paid an extra $100 or more if that were the price.  Great value!
Pros: Pretty, pretty, pretty...
Cons: Smaller ear cups, can get hot
I would like to thank Meze for kindly allowing me to listen to a review sample of their 99 Classics model. I will freely admit to being a little bit of a review whore lately. I have become curious to hear what is going on outside of my normal headphone stomping grounds. I am a Grado modder and an earbuds enthusiast. I turn my own wooden cups on a lathe in my workshop, and am always trying new drivers, new shapes, new headbands, etc, etc. I am also a very devoted follower of the new earbuds being put out by Venture Electronics. The Zen V1 and V2 are like nothing I have heard in such a tiny package.
 
I listen to a wide variety of music, but focus mainly on Jazz and the Blues. I believe firmly that there is “good” music and “bad” music in this world, the differentiator being the intent and sincerity of the artist in their delivery. This means any genre or era can tickle my fancy, but not just any artist or band in those genres. The truth is always conveyed in their work…
 
I was not provided with any monetary compensation for listening to the 99 Classics, and spent 7 days with them before mailing them on to the next tour participant. During that time I took them to my office, and as is my habit spent my working hours listening as I worked….I usually use a Pono player or a Rockboxed Sansa Clip +. I also plug directly into my Macbook Air and listen to Bandcamp a lot.
 
The Meze 99 Classics arrived in a very pretty box, that contained a very pretty carrying case, and in said case, the headphones themselves….which were very pretty. They are almost self-conscious in their beauty, with handsome wooden cups made from Walnut, black leather for their headband and pads, and a nice, matte black springsteel headband. They also have gold metal trim around the cable entry-points on the cups and on the suspension points for the headband pad.
 
They come with two cables. A long one, with no microphone/buttons, and a short one, with the aforementioned doohickys. These are in a nice little soft pouchy-type thingy with an airplane seat adaptor. The pouchy-type thingy sits comfortably in the carrying case. I found the cables a little microphonic and noisy. The headband made a bit of a racket when I touched it with the cans on my head as well for some reason. Interestingly enough, the cups (which are flawlessly finished) aren’t labeled for left and right, but the cables are. I assume this means the cups can function as left and right, no problem, it’s just the connection on the cable that determines which side sits on which side of your head. This makes sense I guess….never thought of it, but if the cups are exactly alike (as they seem to be) then it doesn’t matter.
 
The cups were a little smaller than I expected for some reason. From the pictures I thought they would be bigger and encompass my ears more easily. This was not the case, and I did start to hurt after a little while, and get hot ears using them. I am a taller person, with a bigger head and ears. Their connection to the headband was questionable. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on it for fear of breaking something. I am sure Meze stress-tested these though, and there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
 
How did they sound? Very, very relaxed. Almost Sennheiser-esque. This isn’t my usual sound preference. I look for just south of neutral with good extension on both ends. I am not going to lie though, you could listen to these things for days without any fatigue if they fit you well. They also sounded best out of my Macbook Air.  Overall I enjoyed my experience with them…but I couldn’t help but feel my colleagues at the office thought they were just a little too ostentatious. I got several comments to the tune of “fancy-schmancy headphones buddy…”. This was my primary dislike about them (and if you’re a manufacturer this is the least of your worries I think).
 
They were almost over-designed. They look like something you would buy if you deliberately wanted people to think you spent a lot of money on them. Some people want this, others don’t. I fall into the latter school, not the former. This is personal preference though, and admittedly a silly one at that.
 
Meze has done a sterling job of releasing a headphone that, if they fit you comfortably, will provide endless hours of sexy-looking, fatigue-free listening via your sexy-looking iDevice at the coffee shop while you sip espressos and shop for fancy leather brogues, mustache wax and expensive cologne online before joining your friends that evening at your local gastropub to drink microbrews and fancy whisky while discussing the Coachella lineup for this year and what you will wear while you’re there.
reddog
reddog
A great, informative review.
nmatheis
nmatheis
Damn, Bruce. I love your reviews. Short, to the point, and injected with great, great humor. Head-Fi needs to keep feeding you gear!
fleasbaby
fleasbaby
LOL...thanks :).
Pros: Amazingly Fun Sound Signature, Wonderful Build, Big Soundstage, Very Comfortable, Dual Detachable Cables
Cons: Braided Cable is Prone to Being Microphonic, Ear pads Can Get a Tad Warm Over Time
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I’m rarely surprised by headphones.  If anything, most of the time I am slightly let down, I think a headphone is going to sound great, but it then disappoints.
 
With the Meze 99 Classics, it was the complete opposite; I thought they were just going to be another pretty face, a headphone focusing more on looks than sound, but I was SO wrong, so VERY wrong.  The Meze 99 is now one of my favorite headphones.  I‘m blown away by so many aspects of the 99, let me share those with you. 
 
 
**All Photo Were Taken By Me, No Stock Images Were Used From the Manufacture**
 
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*Specs*
 
Transducer size: 40mm
Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
Impedance: 32Ohm
Rated input power: 30mW
Maximum input power: 50mW
Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
Plug: 6.3mm gold plated
Ear-cups: walnut wood
 
https://www.mezeheadphones.com/meze-99-classics-gold-wood-headphones
 
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*Accessories*

As this is one of the first models out there, there are a few things missing from the full production run, like the 6.3mm to 3.5mm and airplane adapter.  But no worries about those as I have a million of them around the house. 

The hard case itself is just awesome, as it is solid and understatedly handsome.  Inside the case you will find the 99 Classics sitting snug and safe along with another small, softer case for the cables.  It is a fully function and well laid out design. 
 
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*Build*
 
Over the top, beautiful; that is how I describe the Meze 99 Classics.  It is truly an elegant and tough built headphone.  This is a headphone that exquisite blends wood and metal.  You can tell Meze used very high end materials for this build, that include:  “CNC carved wood ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam and soft PU leather”.
 
What caught my attention are the two braided cables.  One shorter with a microphone and one much longer without a mic (forgive me; I do not have exact lengths of each cable at this time).  Both cables are quite beautiful and have a very premium feel.  My only issue with the cables is that both seem to display a decent amount of Microphonics because of the cover material.  Being a detachable cable, maybe there will be an optional version that could be DIY or purchased through Meze at a later date. 

Now, while I am more of a Function over form kind of guy, I feel like as long as it sounds good, it can also look this good.  I just hate when companies care about looks and catch phrases over actual sound substance.  With the Meze, there is no need to worry in any of those departments though.
 
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*Fit*

These are clearly an over ear headphone.  Comfort and distance around the ears is very good.  The only issue some might have is the pads getting a little warm with extended use, though I do love how soft the PU leather is, it is like a pillow around the ear. 

The headband is very similar to the AKG K 240, with the headphone automatically adjusting to your head with some cleverly placed elastic materials.  I wish more headphones were like this as it allows for a perfect and quick fit.
 
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*Sound*
 
Bass – Does play a prominent role in the Meze 99 Classics sound signature.  There is a lot of warmth and fullness down low.  While I would say for the most part the bass stays controlled, it can wander a tad out of hand here and there.  Sub-bass kick is wonderful, a lot of force with its bite.

Mids – I have a soft spot for the 99’s mids.  They are just north of neutral, while also being dynamic and detailed.  I think this is why I like these headphones so much, the middle is a great place to be.  A lot of speed, action and clarity resonate from here; this is where the magic happens.
 
Highs – While the Meze 99 Classics don’t extend too high, I never feel a loss of detail.  A slightly early roll off leads to a smoothness and sophistication not often heard with many other headphones I have heard recently. 
 
­Isolation – Due to the easy fit and soft leather pads, the Meze 99 Classics can form quite a nice seal.  That seal in return leads to a really nice isolating headphone.  I just had my friend try these out a few minute ago while I was writing this, he was really impress how well these headphones block off noise.  He thought they were even noise canceling, until I quickly corrected him.
 
Soundstage – Here I found the biggest surprise the 99 Classics had to offer, a huge, well-tuned soundstage.  It is so wide, yet instrument separation stays so crisp and organized.  I honestly can figure out how Meze got this broad feeling from a closed, well isolating headphone, it is remarkable.
 
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*Overall Thoughts*

As I you will have concluded from my review, I really like the Meze 99 Classics.  I think they are extremely fun and energetic, making them an obvious guilty pleasure for me.  They are analytical in their approach, yet still stay away from the label of monitoring.  They look incredible and have the personality to back it up.
 
While these are almost perfect, I do have a few suggestions to expand the overall enjoyment of the 99 Classics.  As I already mentioned my thoughts on the braided cable, I think there is one more replacement part I would like to see available and that is set of velour pads.  I think those would help reduce a bit of the bass and also help a tad with longevity of wearing the Headphones.  If I find a pair of velour pads that work for the 99 Classics, I will update my review.
 
I’ve reviewed over 30+ headphones this year alone and the Meze is a bright spot among them.  A surprise I honestly did not see coming. The 99 Classics is truly a great overall headphone for those looking for a warm, entertaining and detailed musical experience.
 
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apaar123
apaar123
is the soundstage good enough for gaming?
MrOTL
MrOTL
Nice pics!!! Gorgeous!
superuser1
superuser1
Great review.. so much so that im going to pick one up myself very soon. thank you
Pros: Excellent soundstage, details, transient response, very comfortable, beautiful design & finish
Cons: Little distorsion on lower bass
The design and finish of these headphones are absolutely gorgeous and they're also very comfortable. 
 
Meze 99 Classics was an unexpected surprise. I didn't expect such performance from them especially in the areas that closed headphones don't usually excel. 
 
I’ve  rarely heard such soundstage and such openness in closed headphones. They can compete here with lots of opened headphones in my opinion. 
 
Let's make a summary with what impressed me the most:
 
Soundstage
 
I’ve  rarely heard such soundstage and such openness in closed headphones. They can compete in this area with lots of opened headphones in my opinion. This and some other things make them perfect for instrumental/classical music, but these headphones can be used with almost any musical genre.
 
Imaging and Instrument Separation
 
This is another section that impressed me very much. Every instrument is very well delimited showing very good imaging, instrument separation and layering. They handled crowded music passages with ease.
 
Transients
 
The transients are wonderful on Meze 99 Classics. The attack is explosive and the decay is fast but well extended. This leads to an energetic and tactile sound experience which I appreciate very much in the sound reproduction both in headphones and speakers!
 
Details
 
These headphones are quite analytical. I was surprised with the level of details they are capable of.  This was a major plus for listening to classical music. Combined with other strong points of the Meze 99, every instruments is vibrant and full of life.
 
Besides a small bass bump, I found these headphones to be quite neutral. 
 
The bass is fast, punchy and quite well extended showing very good sub bass as well. It might have a slight might bass hump somewhere but nothing to worry about. The sub bass might present some distortion that was noticeable on some songs but overall it wasn’t disturbing. Overall, I found the bass to be quite nice, engaging and to put meat (muscle because of the speed and punch)  on the bones of the songs.
 
The treble is sparkly and airy. Not harsh, but won't mask recording faults.
 
I think that Meze 99 Classics just became my favorite closed headphones at the moment. Actually let’s forget for a little while that they are closed and just say that they are wonderful headphones in general.
 
Besides the eye candy looks, good quality and very nice finish, they also offer an incredible sound quality which made me loose myself inside my music often offering me goose bumps along the way.
Joeybgood
Joeybgood
I agree with you review wholeheartedly Dan, I don't , however , find the earpads to be very comfortable. Despite the lightweight of this headphone my ears get sore fairly quickly. Do you have a replacement pad that you would recommend for these? tks
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