First I thought that the logo of Meze Audio is a sketch of a lyre music instrument. Later I learned that the logo was inspired by the feathering of the male Lyre Bird (pretty close though). A species of bird that is known for its superb ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from its environment, and the striking beauty of the male bird’s huge tail when it is fanned out in courtship display. Lyre Bird, beautiful-sounding, beautiful-looking, and a beautiful logo for an audio brand I think.
The looks of Meze 99 Classics may be the first reason why this model became a real “classic” in Meze’s lineup, as the model name suggests. The craftmanship in this model deserves well gratitude. Wood always catches our attraction at first sight as it’s a never-ending tool for humankind. Always feels more alive and premium compared to plastic which surrounded us for the last couple of decades. 99 Classics also feels very premium when you first hold it in your hands. And lighter in weight than you would expect, which is very important when it comes to headphones as comfort is one of the main keys in real-life use.
Meze 99 Classics was first launched in 2015 following an Indiegogo campaign. These have been the first headphones Meze Audio has developed completely in-house, receiving multiple awards and nominations. The success of the 99 Classics was what helped Meze Audio initially build a name for themselves on the audiophile market, and this headphone is still selling and loved by many music lovers around the globe.
Meze 99 Classics has no plastic parts or any kind of glue in its design. Besides the usual warranty everybody is offering, Meze guarantees that the 99s are serviceable if any parts would ever need to be replaced.
What’s in the box
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 with mic and remote, 2nd 3m cable without mic/remote
Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
Ear-cups: Walnut wood
I would like to thank Meze Audio for providing me with the review sample of 99 Classics.
The Meze 99 Classics are very easy to drive. With an impedance of 32 Ohm and 103dB sensitivity, they can be paired with just about any device. But using at least a portable DAC-AMP is likely to give even better results. Better source equals better sound. Testing is done with Cayin RU6 R-2R USB DAC-AMP.
Although I have read many comments, even some reviews that these are bassy headphones, I beg to differ. Bass comes to the stage when it is summoned, not overpowering upper frequencies in any way. The 99 Classics’ has a top-to-bottom coherence. A generally even tonal spread, with no part of the audio and dominating the rest.
The 99 Classics have a fun approach to sound reproduction but that doesn’t mean they can’t also take on a serious tone. Spatial performance was good for a sealed headphone, with generously sized images focused at the centre of my head. Even at loud volumes, the 99s kept their cool, never sounding shouty, edgy, boxy, or otherwise criminal in the treble. Midrange to lower frequencies was also evenly distributed. Generally, all frequencies were reproduced with well-proportioned weight. The 99s were neutral in the best sense of the word.
99 Classics is able to produce a good performance in the lower frequency region. The bass shows a moderate depth and extension. The rumble and intensity are on a sufficient level and should satisfy multiple genres, from electronic music up to faster genres like metal music, while only bass-heads could possibly ask for more rumble and depth. The midbass region of the 99 Classics adds the overall presentation warmth and fullness without showing any remarkable midbass hump or muddiness. The midbass region is energetic. Drums sound textured and very natural, while bass guitars have a slightly warmish and full-bodied tonality.
The midrange is slightly recessed and shows a warmish tonality, while the level of clarity, airiness, and detail retrieval is very good. The lower midrange shows a good amount of intensity and fullness without sounding muddy or dry, which makes the male presentation pretty emotional and musical at the same time. The voice reproduction of male vocals has good depth and fullness, while the resolution and clarity are also on a pretty good level. Female vocals are accented and quite detailed. When it comes to the instrument presentation of the 99 Classics, it shows a slightly warm and pretty musical tonality. Everything sounds quite natural, from guitars to the violins. Acoustic guitars are warmish, bassy, and still pretty clean in their presentation. The upper midrange of the 99 Classics is quite energetic and shows a pretty strong intensity that tends to a bright tonality. This region offers a good level of transparency and airiness. 99 Classics offers a good level of extension and detail retrieval from female vocals to instruments in this area.
The treble range has a fairly neutral tonality with enough extension and level of airiness. The lower treble region is more highlighted and detailed compared to the upper treble region. The lower treble region of the 99 Classics is very well-tuned in terms of quantity, intensity, and sharpness. This area adds to the overall presentation a nice sense of clarity and definition. The speed and extension in the lower treble area are on a good level. The upper treble region of the 99 Classics shows a noticeable roll-off, while the level of airiness and sparkle is on a pretty good level. The treble range offers good clarity, detail retrieval, and extension.
Meze 99 Classics has a good soundstage expansion with a quite precise placement and separation of instrument & vocal placement. Pretty good in terms of wideness, while the depth is on a moderate level. Shows a good amount of neutral air between the instruments. Imaging is superb and instrument placement makes for a truly engaging experience. This also makes the 99 Classics pretty good for gaming and watching movies too.
Some say that Meze 99 Classics are not analytical enough for some serious audiophiles. But I think that was never the intention in the first place. The goal was to reach many with the highest standards possible for looks, comfort and sound-wise for the asking price. This is what it takes to be a real “Classic” and it’s not an easy task.