atelier 13 audio
MEZE 99 CLASSICS
"I From the moments I saw—and then heard—Meze Audio's 99 Classics, with their graceful style, their balanced sound, and their natural wood-grained glory, they had me"…
... what they say ...
I wasn't disappointed ...
Headphones can be divided into different types :
on-ear or over-ear ; open, closed, half-open; dynamic driver ... or something more exotic ? There is also another category : it is divided into headphones that sound good, and headphones that just look good.
Which of the last two does the Meze 99 Classics belong to?
I asked myself this question when I received an email asking
me to test these closed over-ear headphones. According to the pictures, it was clear to me that the 99 Classics is a timeless product design. Ultimately, I decided to order the headphones and what can I say ? : I wasn't disappointed.
Features ... as delivered
Despite the high-quality look, the Meze 99 Classics is not your typical "I-prefer-to-stay-at-home" headphones. This is made clear by two things : firstly, because of its output impedance of 32 ohms, which is tailored for operation on smartphones. And secondly, because of the remote control and microphone, which are located on the cable - you can use it to make “hands-free” calls with the phone in your pocket. There are two cables in the scope of delivery: a long one (3 meters) for at home and a short one (1.5 meters) for on the go.
A stable fabric sheathing effectively protects the cables from microphonic effects, and at the same time from knotting too quickly. The cable ends come with gold-plated 3.5 millimeter jack plugs, and these are each plugged into the underside of the ear cups on the Meze 99 Classics.
In terms of portability, the ear cups are slim enough to put the headphones in a bag or the included transport case.
Practical : The case also contains a small accessory bag, in which cables, a 6.3 mm plug and the aircraft adapter fit.
The Meze 99 Classics is reminiscent of a vintage car :
Elegant, timeless, and with a comfortable leather seat. The “soft parts” are made of memory foam with a PU leather cover - you shouldn't necessarily expect real leather in this price class. The hardware is made from cast zinc and hardware.
The philosophy "Form follows function" is reminiscent of the structure of the Audioquest Nighthawk , because according to Meze, all components have a functional meaning and were only visually processed afterwards.
The real eye-catchers, however, are the auricles made of grained walnut wood, which come from a CNC milling machine and are then polished by hand. The Meze 99 Classic is available in three versions: walnut gold, walnut silver and maple silver.
The over-ear headphones dispense with an adjustable rail system and regulate their fit via the elastic inner bracket and the headband. This works amazingly well for me and makes it sit very comfortably on my head. The cushions also lie comfortably around my ears and provide above-average noise insulation for the closed headphones - even better than with the Sennheiser Momentum .
Two 40-millimeter neodymium Mylar drivers sit behind the auricles and should play down to a lower limit frequency of 15 Hertz. How the headphones perform in practice and how they behave in comparison to other models in this price class can be found in the Meze 99 Classics test, which I start on an iPhone 5.
The basic sound of the Meze 99 Classics is - when the headphones are broken in - dynamic and powerful. Otherwise it plays in a balanced manner without being obtrusive and is suitable for a wide range of musical genres. If I had to choose, I'd use it primarily for rock, metal, and electro.
Bass guitars get a pleasant groove and fill the low frequency range across the board. The strengths of this headphone lies in its ability to respond quickly with more pressure in the upper bass than in the lowest frequency range.
The mids sound pleasantly clean and give the headphones a neutral sound. They do not deliver the same sound pressure level as the treble and bass, but manage to cast a spell over the listener and set up a spacious acoustic stage.
The high frequency range is clear, clearly audible and provides a clean transition to the upper mid-range. This means that music is enriched with overtones and voices are given a clear articulation, while S and T sounds remain clean. The Meze 99 Classics plays more lively than the similarly priced Sennheiser Momentum 2 and has a stronger bass and is more 'direct' than a Fostex TR-80.
If you've had enough of beautiful painters and headphones with a bloated keynote, the Meze 99 Classics is a clear recommendation for you. Its strengths lie in dynamic reproduction with a focus on clarity and plasticity. Its sound properties can be increased again significantly with an high end external headphone amplifier that relies on neutral playback, but will be priced a few classes above the Meze.
Meze proves how dynamic an over-ear with a closed design can sound, and that an external headphone amplifier is not necessarily required. It even delivers a lively performance on the iPhone ... and the timeless design is definitely an eye-catcher on the go.
The Meze 99 Classics is the perfect example that good style and tonal substance are not mutually exclusive.
Transducer Type / Size
Dynamic / 40mm
15 - 25,000 Hz
103 dB (1 mW / 1 kHz)
Rated / Maximum Input Power
Detachable Kevlar OFC
3.5mm Gold Plated
260 g (9.2oz) - without cabled
Warranty Period : 2 YEARS
Case / Pouch
Hard EVA carrying pouch
1.2m thread Kevlar OFC cable with mic and remote
6.3mm gold plated jack
Airplane jack adapter