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Meze 99 Classics Discussion + Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by MezeTeam, Jan 13, 2016.
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  1. Bansaku
    I second this! Believe me when I say: Let the ear pads break in. From my experience with 2 pairs of 99 Classics and the 99 Neo, bass becomes waaaay more controlled and less boomy once the pads break-in. Be patient, the sound will mature. Plus there is driver burn-in, which is usually 40 hours.
    koover likes this.
  2. Llermo

    Ok, I'll follow you recomendations and wait a while before try anything.
    Today I recieve my new N5II so I have a lot of things to play!!

    koover and superuser1 like this.
  3. Brickman100
    Found these on eBay yesterday, with the UK 20% discount code, picked these up for £190 delivered! Very excited for them to turn up tomorrow! Listened to them a lot in the showroom, but a definite step up from my akg k545, much more 'fun' sounding. And just SO pretty.
    mbwilson111 likes this.
  4. ryanjsoo
    Just posted my review of Meze's new Silver Plated Cable. Though not the most cost-effective upgrade, 99 owners looking for more clarity and balance will definitely be interested! See the full review here and on THL and Everyday Listening for in-depth breakdown and evaluation.

  5. zaky
    - deleted too long
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  6. Mark Up
    I sure wish Tyll or anyone here with measurement gear would put a set of headphones on a measurement device, measure, switch cables and measure again.
  7. Bansaku
    It would show absolutely nothing significant. A cable, no matter the material or connection type, DOES NOT increase soundstage, bass, boost mids, nor extent the treble response. What a higher quality cable/connection WILL DO is peel back the layers of invisible grain, revealing greater transparency. It allows the signal from the amplifier to the drivers to be delivered without distortion. However, things such as increased soundstage, clarity, imaging, transients, with a greater perception of the frequency response is very real. It just can not be measured, rather perceived by the listener. Trust me, people have measured the signal from X wire vs Y wire, and the only thing of note was a change in resistance. I have seen it first hand. But my eyes/ears tell a different story.


    P.S. Later today (what I consider tomorrow as I have yet to go to bed) I will finally post my impressions of OFC vs OCC vs OFC balanced and OCC balanced.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  8. Bansaku
    (Ya ya, I forgot to put the rubber on the plug... )

    Well, it's a little late, but as promised here are my impressions on the 99 Classics using the standard 99.99% OFC cable, 6N OCC cable, OFC balanced and OCC balanced. Just a recap of what I posted many many pages ago, I stated that the fact that the cable is OCC will have a greater impact on the sonic quality that the balanced connection, in which I basically said that it will do absolutely nothing. Will I have to take my foot out of my mouth? Has my perception of balanced changed? Well, you will have to keep reading for the answers.

    Besides testing on the HDV 820, I also had a chance to try the 99 Classics on this. Quick story. Christmas Eve my older brother came over to me and asked if I brought the Mezes. I said I did, but had given them to my niece to use for the night (she hadn't heard them yet). I asked why, and he whips out the Sony NW-WM1Z. My jaw dropped. When he handed it to me my arm dropped; I literally weighs 1 pound/ 455g! He then told me the price (not what he paid; he didn't say but I suspect a killer Black Friday sale) and I was floored! $4000 CND! But more on that later. As well, I also swapped the plugs on the balanced cable to use with my HD 600 (where it sits now). It's something I was planning to do anyway for my testing/review of the HDV 820, and not simply to get a more objective prospecting of a balanced 99 Classics. And as an unexpected bonus, I was able to try the Shure SR 846 balanced (also my brother's)! Anyway, on to the shootout!

    OFC vs OCC

    Equipment used for testing

    - Sennheiser HD 600, Meze 99 Classics, AKG Q701/K240 Monitor, PSB M4U 1, Shure SR 846 all using both OFC and OCC cables
    - 6th gen. iPod touch
    - dodo cool DAP
    - with and without NX1s amp
    - iDAC's headphone out
    - iFi stack: iTube2, iDAC, iCAN SE
    - Sennheiser HDV 820
    - Sony NW-WM1Z
    * With the exception of the AKG and their mini XLR connectors, all OCC cables are are 4 wires terminating to a standard TRS plug.

    As stated above (and many times throughout Head-Fi), a cable is not magic. It will not boost anything. It is a passive length of copper wire. The only thing a cable of better quality materials will do is allow the signal to be passed uninhibited from the amplifier to the drivers, thus enhancing the sound. A good analogy would be a high performance sports car racing on an asphalt surface vs freshly cured concrete. The road does not make the sports car perform better, it allows the sports car to reach it's potential. The tires will grip the surface better, thus allowing the suspension and steering to respond with greater ease. The car can accelerate and brake with less effort, allowing for greater handling in tight turns. It's not the road doing the work, it's the car. However the car could not perform optimally without the smoother surface. A more simple analogy would be a torrent of water flowing through a rubber hose, exiting out the end of a spigot vs a laser cut tube made out of pure crystal. Which flow will exit smoother, with greater ease? Now relate this to an amplifier and the signal being passed along to the drivers and how it could affect the sound.

    An OCC cable does indeed enhance the presentation, in a sense. What happens when your upgrade the copper is you hear the amplifier for what it is. It's almost as if the cable disappears. This is why I always say that OCC peels back the layers of invisible grain (the imperfections of the copper) revealing greater transparency (uninhibited signal). How much enhancement can be expected? Given the equipment I used for the testing, all I can tell you is (to my ears) all of the headphones used universally gained performance using the OCC cable, however the result varied from source to source. If you want what I consider a good description of what OCC generally does, read a couple posts above what @ryanjsoo said about the Meze OCC cable. It sums thing up nicely (and saves me the time of having to describe it myself). :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

    All in all, if you want the absolute best performance out of your amp, OCC is the way to go, bar none! Just don't go all out and spend a fortune on an aftermarket OCC cable. Depending on the construction quality, $100-$150 really is a fair price, especially if it has good connectors.

    Unbalanced vs Balanced

    Equipment used for testing

    - Sennheiser HD 600, Meze 99 Classics, using both OFC and OCC balanced and unbalanced cables, Shure SR 846 using OCC balanced and unbalanced cables
    - Sennheiser HDV 820
    - Sony NW-WM1Z
    * I Jerry rigged the Shure's custom balanced cable for use with the HD 600 and 99 Classics for use with the Sony's 4.4mm balanced output. No soldier was used, and it was very ghetto with me needing hold things in place because electrical tape was not enough, but it worked without alteration to the Shure's cable. The things I do for science!

    Absolutely nothing changed in terms of transparency! None, zip, zilch, nada, jack squat! Try as I did, and I genuinely really really really wanted to hear, anything, I could not hear any sonic difference between unbalanced vs balanced. OFC, OCC, HD 620HDV 820, or NW-WM1Z, it mattered not! I wish I could say more, but myself nor my brother could hear any audible improvements. Quick anecdote: After my brother and I finished testing on the Sony, we both were discussing how both outputs sounded identical and that having balanced out on a DAP is kind of useless. After about 5 seconds of silence, we jinxed each other by blurting out " Except for long runs " at the same time. Which is essentially what a balanced output is designed for. Unfortunately I was only using 3' cables. Ideally, I would have liked to have a 20' cable for testing, but I have no cables that long.

    I do have to point out one factor that may be the reason as to why I could not hear any change in quality with balanced vs unbalanced. Both sources used are Sennheiser and Sony's flagship products. There is a possibility that the implementation of the unbalanced output on both are so good that the results were identical for a standard length cable. I didn't have any experience with balanced headphones and amps until now (only professional gear such as mixers, PAs and mics) so I don't have a large pool of data to pull from. But as it stands, from the two units I tried, the outputs are identical in transparency.

    So I stand by my original statement that OCC will have a significant influence on the sound over a balanced connection. HOWEVER.... There actually IS a difference in the sound with a balanced output over one that is unbalanced: Volume! With the balanced output on both the Sony and Sennheiser, I had to turn down the volume by about 30% compared to unbalanced! This is something I admittedly had not expected, but makes perfect sense considering the original intended use of the balanced output way back in the day.

    natto, erich6, HungryPanda and 3 others like this.
  9. bhjeong1985

    Thanks alot. I have tried a few brainwavs pads and the new stock pads but MSR7 pads are the best!
  10. Mark Up
    I have to agree. I can't believe how comfortable they are with those first of all. The way they tighten the mid bass just slightly, keeping all the subs, is just great.
  11. ryanjsoo
    Happy new year everyone! And thanks Bansaku, great impressions!
    HungryPanda likes this.
  12. thehamubrglar
    Update: I got my ATH-MSR7 pads and I've been using them quite heavily. It's safe to say that these pads have saved the Meze 99 Classics for me. I originally posted here trying to find a solution to the stock pads (I tried the original and the larger ear pads Meze offers on their site). I thought they sounded fantastic, a huge upgrade from my trusty ATH-M50x. But the pads were way too small for me and I couldn't listen for more than an hour or two without needing to take a break. I then tried the Brainwavz Sheepskin pads non-angled in attempt to solve the comfort issue. These things were like pillows on my ears but unfortunately changed the sound profile of these headphones for me entirely. For me, they made the 99 Classics seem very flat and lifeless in comparison to the stock ear pads and took the fun out of listening. I returned the Brainwavz and considered selling the 99 Classics because I was out of the return window. The headphones sat in my drawer for the last couple months while I returned to the M50x for my daily driver. Thankfully I monitored this thread until I saw posts about the MSR7. They combine the comfort of the Brainwavz Sheepskin (although not quite as thick as them) with the sound profile of the stock pads. I've been using them at work for 5-8 hours a day for the last two weeks and I have yet to become fatigued. Gone is the clamping pressure and ear soreness from being pressed against the driver with the original pads. Yet they seem to maintain the fun / lively sound profile of the Classics that I experienced right out of the box - the sound that I lost with the Brainwavz and other pads that I tried (at 1/4 the cost). I highly recommend giving these a try if you have any problem with the Meze pads. At $11 shipped off eBay, you really can't go wrong. Attached is a pic of my Classics with the new pads. Cheers all!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
    HungryPanda and mbwilson111 like this.
  13. superuser1
    Are these the same pads?

  14. thehamubrglar
    They look like it (although I have them in black). I'm guessing you aren't from the US? Here is the eBay link from which I purchased. One thing you could look for is the line of stitching at the bottom of the pads, which is present in mine (you can see it in the eBay pics). I can't tell from your Amazon screenshot if they have the same line or not.

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  15. superuser1
    Thanks I'll check the link. I have been having the same problem as you and despite loving the 99 Cs, i cant listen to them for evry long and would love to remedy that. This looks like a silver lining. :)
    thehamubrglar likes this.
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