Meze 99 Classics Headphones – Review

Recently I was  pleasantly surprised to find out that a new full sized closed, over the ears headphones was released on the market, the Meze 99 Classics.

The real surprise was to find out that the founders of Meze are Romanians. I am always glad when I see fellow Romanians take the next step into this hobby. As you may already know,  I don’t write reviews of products I do not like. This is actually a policy of HeadMania.

So, you can naturally assume that these headphones deserve a review and your attention, and you are certainly right!

General Presentation & Specs

The first thing I noticed was premium packaging and I must say that I’ve rarely seen such finesse and attention put into the packaging of the product. When I opened the box and saw the headphones I just fell in love with its looks. I think these are one of the most beautiful headphones I’ve ever seen. They have a wonderful design and a incredible meticulous finish applied to it.

They also seem very sturdy and are very comfortable. Putting them on is like receiving a friendly head hug.  This is also a result from the well crafted head band that should apply even pressure for any head size.

Every headphone takes them 45 days to make. They are very thorough in building them, offering high quality design and build quality and indeed I’ve rarely seen a product like this. It’s a pleasure to look at it.

Meze 99 Classics - Review

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

Tests and Listening Impressions

The tests have been done with   Audio-Gd Master 9, Sennheiser HD800,  MSB Analog Dac with custom Ben Lau LPS, FiiO X5, FiiO E12A. 

These headphones are quite easy to drive but I’ve noticed that they scale quite a lot with good gear! Keep this in mind and they might surprise you one day.

Mercedes Sosa – Misa Criolla – Credo

My jaw was on the floor on this song. I sincerely don’t have anything bad to say about them on this song. I loved every bit of this song with them . Ok…where to start? The first thing that amazed me was the unexpected big and airy soundstage. Size wasn’t the only thing that impressed me as the holography / instrument positioning was very good as well. The instrument percussion was  tactile and energetic giving lots of energy to them and overall to the song. Mercedes’s voice was present, clean and very well extended. The quire presented well positioned, well contoured and very emotional voices as well. Lovely!

Minoru Nojima – La Campanella

I don’t remember enjoying classical music so much with a closed headphone before. Actually they perform incredibly well, even when compared to open headphones! The soundstage was again excellent but I think that you already got the point. The piano hypnotized me as every note had a very clean, sparkly and well defined percussion that lead to a mesmerizing listening experience.

Vivaldi – Autumn – Allegro (La Caccia)

I know, this is another classical piece, but I cannot get enough with these headphones! It’s just incredible what amount of details they are capable of extracting from each instrument. Besides that, every violin sounded extended while every other percussive instrument in the scene was very well placed and vibrant with energy and textures.

Ewen Carruthers – The Amber Room

The percussion of each guitar pluck is very pleasant as these headphones offer a lovely tactile experience. The voice was also a pleasure to listen to, having good tonality and very good presence and extension. When the backup voices unite with the main singer’s Meze 99 offered a goose bumps experience!

Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal

These headphones are fast and as I expected, they offered a very energetic musical experience on this song as well. The bass was present, fast and had a very energetic and strong punch throughout the song but I think it presented some distorsions on the bass section. Michael’s voice was very well presented.

Zdob si Zdub – Hardcore Moldovenesc

At the beginning I thought that these headphones are a little bass shy but after some burn in they opened up in that section as well. It might even have a small mid bass hump there but nothing of big notice. The drum on this song was very present also in the sub bass section, but also punchy. Overall the song presented very good energy and prat showing that these headphones can also rock!

Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Hanuman

If you want to get some energy, listen to this song with the Meze 99 Classics. It really gets the blood flowing. The attack on every pluck is a burst of energy. The decay is fast but not lacking in extension.

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Summary

Bass

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.

Midrange

The midrange is very detailed and present  and it is one of the very strong points of these headphones.

Treble

The treble is very sparklly, nicely extended and very well detailed. These are not bright headphones, but if the recording is bad, it won’t mask it.

Voices

The voices are in front, but not in a bad way as the soundstage is big and spacious from a scenic presence point of view. They are nicely extended and detailed as well. I liked both male and female voices on these headphones.

Soundstage

I’ve  rarely heard such soundstage and such openness in closed headphones. They can compete here 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.

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Conclusions

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.

They actually make me think of a smaller and closed version of Sennheiser HD800. Yes, I liked them that much. Now don’t expect the same level of performance, but Meze 99 Classics surely reminds me of them in some ways and they have a less harsh treble and better bass extension.

I am really glad I had the chance to listen to them and I think I might just buy one for myself soon. Considering that these mark the beginnings of Meze, I am very curious to hearing their next products and I have confidence that they will surprise us even more!

In the end I really must congratulate Meze for their excellent achievement! Good job guys!

Pros

  • Very punchy, well extended, fast bass
  • Excellent midrange
  • Very good treble
  • Very good voices
  • Very good soundstage
  • Very good imaging and instrument separation
  • Very good transients
  • Energetic and engaging sound signature
  • Excellent details
  • Overall neutral sound signature
  • Excellent design, build quality, looks and finish
  • Premium packaging

Cons

  • sub bass has some distortions that can seldom take from the cleanliness and texture of the bass
  • can be quite analytical sometimes and won’t sweeten the faults of the recordings

 

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