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.
- 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!
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!
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.
The bass is fast, punchy and quite seems to be decently extended. It might have a slight might bass hump somewhere but nothing to worry about. The sub bass might have some distortion that was noticeable on some songs but overall it wasn’t disturbing.
It’s present, relatively fast & engaging.
The midrange is clean, detailed and presents good textures. This is in my opinion the strong point of these headphones.
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.
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.
I’ve rarely heard such soundstage and such openness in closed headphones of this size. 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.
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!
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.
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!
- 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
- 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
Salut . De unde ai reusit sa le procuri? Am inteles ca producatorii sunt romani. Cum le-ai compara fata de Audeze Lcd 2.2 , Focal Classic si eventual Audioquest NightHawk. Apropo cum ti se par Nighthawk fata de seria de la Audeze? Pe head-fi sunt o gramada de pareri pro si contra…
Am primit un loaner review unit de la producatori. Vs focal classic suna considerabil mai deschis si mai detaliat, focal sunand mai intim, ceva mai romantic si cu bass response mai curat.
Pe celelalte nu le-am avut pentru o comparatie si n-am apucat sa ascult cum trebuie noile LCD-2 cu fasors.
Nighthawk mi s-au parut interesante.
Sunt destul de dark, dar mi s-au parut niste casti cu sunet curat si romantic.
Le-am ascultat la Canjam anul acesta, dar nu pot sa iti fac o comparatie intre ele si audeze deocamdata. Trebuie sa le ascult mai mult si pe un sistem cunoscut de mine.
Poate le iau la un review in curand.
Wonderful review, such detail and honest respond….have you had the chance to try the AKG 553? And if you do, how is the K553 compared to Meze 99?
Thank you. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to listen to 553 yet. When I do, I’ll post my thoughts here.
You really like them that much??? A smaller closed back HD800 you say??? I might just have to get these as I have been looking for some closed back portable headphones I can use with my ifi micro iDSD. I have tried the PSB which were nice but a bit bulky and not so comfortable. I have also tried the Sennheiser Momentums but they sound rolled off at both ends and I didn’t like them much at all. The Oppo PM3s are just too much money for a portable set and so I had been thinking about the Beyer T51p most recently but people say they don’t have a great sound stage. If as you say these have good sound and good sound stage in an HD800 style and are not too expensive………..hmmmmm…..
I really liked them indeed, and in some ways they do remind me of hd800, especially in soundstage, details. However I must emphasise the “remind” keyword. Don’t expect them to actually be hd800.
I actually listened to PM-3. I am not a big fan actually. They are muddy compared to Meze 99. T51p are too bright for my tastes.
Our tastes seem close enough when it comes to midrange definition and overall tonality. I need to replace my closed back reference soon, I’m going to be using them in the office open space and therefore a good isolation is needed. How would you compare pm3 with el8, and ultimately what would you recommend as a neutral, robust and isolating (in this order) from the two and k 550 and classic 99? I do have th biggest head on our department floor, to support any of these…
Yes indeed I know what you mean as even HD 700s don’t sound so much like HD800s. Thanks for the feedback and I think this could be the one.
Having difficulty to hear a pair as Meze seem to be focussed on the US and wont launch until later next year in the UK. Oh well back to the drawing board!!!Have you heard the new Denon AH MM400? It seems to be getting good press and I know I can find a pair to listen to.
Very nice review, do you think they would have enough detail for mixing, mastering in a studio? I see there website showed them in a similar setting.
Thank you. I think they are quite capable of that.
Hi, I was looking for efficient quality headphone to use with my digital piano and from what I can read these might be ideal. Do you think they would be able to be directly (without external amp) driven by a digital piano?
These headphones are very efficient. I think you won’t have any problems with them regarding the amplifications.
Then these will be my headphones, much thanks for your reply.
The sample you had must be better than the ones I just received. I supported them on Indiegogo and just received mine, I thought the midrange sound was rather thin and lacking. The ear cups were uncomfortable – they chafed against my ears and I ended up taking them off after about 1/2 hour. My girlfriend had the same issue with the cups so i know it’s not just me. I thought the sound overall was good and similar to a pair of Sennheiser HD380 Pros I use on field recordings. Those are $160 though and I’d expect more from $300 phones. The Sony 7520s (granted, $349) I use for critical listening make these things look like cheap toys.
The build is impressive and the delightful retro design is extremely cool. I’ll be giving these away and the recipient will love them. She has smaller ears so I’m hopeful she finds them comfortable.
Thank you for your impressions. I found them quite comfortable but my ears fit perfectly inside the cup. While the midrange is not as emotional as with other headphones, I liked the midrange for the details and crispiness it offered. And I did find their sound change a lot with better quality sound gear. They scaled surprisingly well! While they are very efficient, they do benefit quite a lot from a clean hp output.
Thanks Dan, for this review. I use the Beyerdynamic T90 as reference/audiophile headphones, for their outstanding accuracy without being dull. I wonder how the Meze 99 Classics would compare to the T90, musically. Can you comment on that?
Personally I find the T90 very good, only with some female voices sometimes a bit sharp, but this is probably because I have a sensitive hearing at around 1200 and 5000-7000 Hz (lost part of my hearing at my right ear). You would say that the treble of the 99 Classics is warmer/smoother than the T90? Or similar? The frequency respons shows they should be near the T90 only little less emphasis on the trebles.
If the Meze 99 Classics are that good for the 300 € price range I would be glad to (help) distribute them in the Netherlands. I am much related to Romania as well. (many friends there, and I write/speak the language). I wish I could test them myself together with my brother in law who is sound specialist… Hans
Unfortunately I just heard the T90 briefly, so I cannot make an accurate comparison between the two.
If you’d like, I can put you in contact with one of the makers of Meze 99 classics.
I wrote an email to mr. Meze just before Christmas, but no reply yet. When the Mese 99 Classics are really good and worth the money I would like to promote them, and maybe even become a distributor in Holland, perhaps together with my brother in law, who is an audio and video specialist, and with my daughter who studies for her master of science in Industrial Design at the Delft Technical University. But if you could put me in contact with them it will probably help. And surely as an almost audiophile if would like to test/review the Mese 99 Clasics. Surely Frits Kraefft my brother in law knows very well how to test them too.
Personally I feel that the wooden cans (if they are hard enough) could give a natural warm sound, and that is why I think I would like these 99 classics very much… I myself have tested/own(ed) several Sennheiser headphones (no real high end though), high end Bang & Olufsen in-ears, high end Klipsch in-ears, the Beyerdynamics T90 (high end), DT990 (premium, not high end), T51i (premium portable), Beats by Dr. Dre (not very accurate, but nice if you love bass). Also used the various Apple in-ears with my iPhone (reasonably good for their price, but somewhat “whooly”). More over I listened to a multitude of headphones of middle class (Sony, Philips, JVC, Roland, Senheiser, etc. dont remember the models) and none of them satisfied me, so I tend to the high end or sub-high end. Like my two audio instalations (o.a Yamaha’s, Philips Fidelio with high end Canton Vento and B&W loudspeakers).
Maybe you can indeed put me “in legatura” with the Mezes? I write pretty well Romanian for a Dutchman, because I love your country and have many Romanian friends already.
Just want to know if you have ever tried Beyer DT1770 Pro and if so, any comparison between those two headphones? Thanks.
Thank you, Richard. I’ve listened to them briefly at canjam. They didn’t impress me very much if I remember correctly. They seem kind of tiresome, but it was meet conditions, I cannot tell you for sure.
Thanks for your word about DT1770. I also noticed that you did a review on TH900 and since you indicated that Meze 99 is your favorite closed headphone, I became interested in whether Meze 99 can compete against TH900 especially in terms of soundstage/resolution/imaging. Thanks.
TH900 is a very good headphone. Technically, it is better than meze, but I am a midrange freak, and th900 has the midrange too much recessed for my tastes, and it also is kind of bright.
Hi again. Good news I have managed to get a loan of a pair of Meze 99 Classics vis the ifi Audio iClub!!! So am checking them out now in comparison to my regular HD700s. I will let you know my thoughts once I have a bit of time with them.
Hello. Congrats! I am looking forward to your impressions!
Ok so I have been using them for a few days now and directly comparing them to my HD700s which I use with my ifi iDSD/iUSB rig with my laptop. They gave me a big problem as I could not tell which I preferred more overall. They are of course different sounding with the Meze having more bass presence (not more extended) very slightly warmer mids and less treble presence (but not rolled off). The HD700s seem cooler by comparison at first but they fought back with a more open and yet focussed soundstage and a more extended treble.
Every time I thought I had decided which I preferred I would move back to the other and change my mind again! I also found it very easy to just sit back and enjoy the music on the Meze 99s and not think about any comparisons which I suppose is what it should actually be about!
So overall I am certain if I wanted to get a set of closed back headphones for home or for travel they would be top of my list and their price is remarkable given the quality of the product. Perhaps what amazes most is where did they come from in so short a time to arrive with this good a headphone.
Do you thing these headphones are better than the Fostex TH-600 and the TH-900?
Sorry I haven’t listened to either of these.
Th-900 is technically superior, with cleaner sound overall, especially in the sub bass zone, better extension on bass and if I remember correctly in the treble as well.
What I don’t like about them is that they have recessed mids, and sound kind of bright.
Unde le putem asculta in Romania? Pe site-ul lor nu sunt la vanzare, banuiesc au dificultati in a face fata comenzilor datorita duratei lungi de manufacturare…
Nu stiu daca au contract cu vre-un magazin . Poti sa ii intrebi direct aici:
If meze 99 impress you , then please try flare r2 pro , very very accurate sound maybe you will sold your other iem .
If you would read the review, you would realise that Meze 99 classics are not in ears…
what is better ? FOCAL CLASSIC or MEZE 99 ?
I would pick Meze 99, but you should check out their new headphone , the Focal Listen which is cheaper than both and better than both.
can you compare me nighthawk’s with 99 classics ?
I don’t have them side by side and it’s been a while since I’ve heard them, so take this with a grain of salt.
What I can remember is that Meze has more sparkle in the treble and might be more engaging for fast/electronic music.
Nighthawk are definitely more transparent with a cleaner sound signature, the sound is more natural and the soundstage is bigger than with Meze. Eventhough, Nighthawk’s sound signature might not be for everyone, I consider them to be technically superior to Meze.