Earth and Fire, Wind and Water – A Review of the Meze 99 Classics

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Allow me this opportunity to say, Pinky is terribly pleased by the aesthetics. I probably lucked out not getting the black and gold version. This thing is dead gorgeous, with subtler elegance.

After only a few minutes of listening, I brought the screwdriver out and opened her up. If I am going to review this product, I need to know how the REAL 99C sounds. So I removed all the modifications: a bunch of foam sticky’ed along the inside of the cups, and a few layers of dampeners in the pads, in front of the driver.

Weeks have gone by now, listening to the legitimate Meze 99 Classics. I have no desire to reinstall any of the modifications. The original owner said the mods level-out the frequencies. No thanks, mate. To my ears, the sonics are too fabulous to f**k with.

The comfort of the Meze is at a high grade. These have the larger pads than what shipped with the first batch. Those garnered many negative comments in reviews found throughout the Net. It is about the only bad thing folk have to say about the 1st edition. The larger pads are very nice, and the overall comfort is a step above the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0. Since I already found the M2 quite pleasant to wear, that is a remarkable achievement. The elastic headband adjusts automatically to the size of your head, making the Meze an effortless thing to put on.

I guess you could say the Meze 99 Classics is big for a portable headphone. But it comes with a nice carry case and fits easily inside my messenger bag, alongside all the villainous paraphernalia stored there. It doesn’t feel prohibitively cumbersome. No worse than the Momentum. In fact, I’d like the case to be a little larger, so I don’t need to detach the cable every time I zip her up. You’d think that might cause trouble down the road.

 

 

 

 

Wearing these headphones, they don’t feel very large at all. If you’re accustomed to cans like the HD6XX or the LCD-2, these feel low-profile and light. Maybe not as light as the mostly plastic HD6XX, but close, and smaller.

The pads, even the newer, larger pads, are not genuine leather, which dismays Pinky to some extent. They are high quality synthetic, though, and feel very soft and pliable. I even used leather conditioner on them, and they absorbed the milk nicely. So I don’t have any real complaint in that regard. I just like my materials as organic as possible when pressed against my wanton flesh.

In spite of the fact the 99C uses 3.5mm mono for its earcup connection, only Meze’s plugs will fit. Due to how deep they must go, and the angle of insertion, there are currently no 3rd party plugs that work. To satiate my obsession with building custom cables for my gear, I had to order the Double Helix Cables 3D Printed Meze Mod. This allowed me to build a cable for the Astell&Kern AK120II’s 2.5mm Balanced Output. I enjoyed the sound so greatly from the stock cable that I didn’t want to tinker too much with the signature. Instead of using SPC or pure silver, I went fairly traditional. Norne Audio’s basic OCC copper seemed like the right move. With their transparent black jacket, it gave the cable such a lovely visual and made a handsome pairing with the 99 Classics.

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About Author

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.

17 Comments

  1. Hi;

    i have a V-moda Wireless with good bass. But i feel that the high is not good enough after i purchased the Ibasso IT03. i think Meze 99 (either classic or neo) bass is not as good as V-moda but i really interest in the comparison of other aspects.

    Thanks
    Anthony

    • Pinky Powers on

      Good question. They are indeed quite similar. Both very airy and transparent. Meze, however, has stronger bass response. There’s more of it, and it hits harder. Though, if you ask me, it never over does it. Meze also has a bit more treble energy, providing greater sparkle. Spartan isn’t far behind in this. In fact, I’d say the way it handles its highs is slightly more natural in tone. The mids definitely have more in common, both being clear, vivid, and transparent.

    • Pinky Powers on

      No need to compare. They both work great with these headphones. Feel safe choosing your player based on other considerations. The synergy with Meze is excellent.

      For a breakdown on the DAPs in general, see my review of each. 😉

    • The M2.0’s treble is slightly rolled off, so maybe a brighter DAP would be best. Shanling M3s, or Cayin N5ii, or iBasso DX200 are good choices for strong upper-register presence.

  2. Great to finally see the Mezes reviewed on this website. I was looking for my first pair of headcans to use at a new job (needed exactly the same requirements as you, Pinky; low impedance, closed back) and I initially had my eyes on the Audio Technica ATH-M50x (couldn’t go wrong with them, right?). A fortunate shame that they didn’t make the cut by any means due to me being spoilt by my IEMs (Sony XBA-A3s).

    The store owner did me a massive favour, recommending these Mezes to me. Looks like I’m spoilt yet again in the headcans area now as well. On top of that, the COMFORT of these…. I’ve slept with them on during a flight before..

    The wooden appearance really does make these a unique pair compared to the rest of the market as well, something I’ve grown to appreciate.

    The only draw-back now seems to be the fact that the next upgrade is definitely going to be a heavy cost to the wallet.

  3. Hi,
    It’s interesting when you compare sound from different form factors like earphones and headphones. Do you have an opinion about similarly priced capable aptx enabled Bluetooth speakers (like the Dali katch) in comparison to these earphones or headphones?

    • Pinky Powers on

      I have no experience with Bluetooth anything yet. Sorry. But I am getting the B&O H9 to review. So that’s a start.

  4. Michael V. Zimmerman on

    Dayum Pinky, so well spoken. Love your communication style. I don’t have the coin for these but loved the review and will bank it for future reference (insert thumbs-up emoji). You’re a good writer.

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