We have been breaking into the world of headphones as of late, this time we are checking out the Meze 99 Classics. We originally contacted Meze to get a pair of headphones to use with the iFi Pro iDSD to test out the balanced output. Meze sent over the 99 Classics with a balanced 4.4 mm cable as well as the included cables and accessories. It only makes sense to give them their own review as well.
I am very particular when it comes to headphones as I get migraines and headphone fit is crucial. I have tried out headphones that I couldn’t wear for more than a couple of hours, and when you have a desk job that is not going to cut it. I’ve mentioned before that no matter how good a pair sounds if they are uncomfortable you likely won’t listen to them long. I don’t want to seem as though I am raving about the 99 Classics when I say they are by fr the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn. Spending 8 hours with no discomfort, or fatigue whatsoever. They are light and have just the right clamping force with an elastic headband that just gently rests them in place. Since they fit amazingly and don’t hurt my head after hours, do they sound good enough to listen to for hours, simply put, they do. The sound is great and we will get into all the details of that.
The 99 Classics are a closed back over ear design so that is something to keep in mind. I am on the fence when it comes to my preference of open/closed back, however, I will almost always prefer the fit and sound of an over ear design. The overall tone I notice is neutral if leaning a little towards warm, the highs are nice but a bit overshadowed by the mids and lows. For me personally, I almost would rather have this in a headphone I listen to for hours, brighter headphones can be fatiguing to the ears after some time, and with how great they fit you will want these for your daily drivers. There is a richness or depth to the sound, the 99 Classics sound cozy and easy to enjoy whether passively listening or critically. When I reviewed the Grado PS500e they were certainly thin and airy, but with a wide sound stage. These feel more intimate and close, the stage feels smaller. The 99 Classics remind me of going to an acoustic concert play for a small but passionate crowd where the Grados gave more of an orchestral feeling. Not that either is better but rather two different experiences. Detail and clarity were both readily available, while maybe a little less so than the PS500e’s, though that seems to be my experience overall when comparing closed to open back headphones. I should also mention the 99 Classics cost about half that of the PS500e’s.
I tried the 99 Classics out with a myriad of different setups to get an idea of what different levels of users may experience. I connected them to my Macbook pro, iPhone 11 Pro, Windows 10 editing machine, Marantz SR7009 headphone out, and the iFi Pro iDSD. I know there are tons of other options out there but this is about the extent to the different gear I have on hand that I would actually listen to headphones on. The good news is these are easy to drive headphones so your phone will do just fine in that capacity, as will your laptops onboard audio. All that said I very much prefer them with the Pro iDSD as my DAC/amp for the 99 Classics. There are a few reasons you may want to look into using an external Dac with these, one being the better overall sound quality, but also the ability to use Meze’s in house balanced cable option, which made a notable difference at least when used with the iFi. I can not say with certainty that is more due to the iFI DAC or the cable itself but it is worth mentioning. (if you want to know more about balanced vs. unbalanced cables click the button below)
While the 99 Classics don’t need an amp to drive them, the headroom you get before noticeable distortion can’t be understated. Personally, I recommend using an amp with nearly all headphones, or at least higher-end ones. Headphone amps are usually DACs as well, very few don’t act as both, which is one of the single best things you can buy for your headphones. The DACs included in your standard devices do their job and that is about it, real estate in a phone is at a premium, and as not all iPhone or Android users are audiophiles they often don’t put a high priority on the DAC circuitry. If you look at the size of external DACs/Amps you’ll quickly see why it would be impractical to have that in a phone or even laptop. A quality DAC will increase sound quality in just about any headphones and the 99 Classics are no different. Overall detail throughout the frequency range was the most notable change when moving from the laptop output to the DAC output.
- Transducer size: 40mm
- Frequency response: 15Hz – 25KHz
- Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Rated input power: 30mW
- Maximum input power: 50mW
- Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
- Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
- Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
- Ear-cups: walnut wood
In the Box:
• Case: Hard EVA carrying pouch
• Cable: 1.2m thread Kevlar OFC with Mic and remote
• Cable: 3m thread Kevlar OFC
• Adapter: 6.3mm gold-plated jack
• Airplane jack adapter
• Cable pouch
• Weight: 260g
I try not to get too biased sounding, but these are by far my favorite headphones I have used. I think they strike a great balance between price, sound quality, and comfort. At a retail price of 309.99 U.S., there really isn’t anything bad I can say about the Meze 99 Classics. The materials and build quality are top-notch, as well as the fit and finish of the final product. Meze also includes a great case, as well as some cable and adapter options. I will say they are not the most amazing sounding headphones I have ever heard but they are definitely a real contender in their price bracket. If you are in the market for a pair of great-sounding headphones you can wear all day without discomfort then I highly recommend checking out the Meze 99 Classics.
Meze provided Hifi Chicken with 99 Classics for review, Meze did not pay in full or part for a review.
For information on where you can buy Meze headphones please visit their website below,