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Meze 99 Classics Closed-back Headphones!

Today, we are looking at the Meze 99 Classics Closed-Back headphones! These headphones have been around for quite some time, but they are still worth checking out!


This article will primarily discuss my impressions of the 99 Classics regarding build quality, look and feel, comfort, and sound quality when paired with a few different Amplifiers and DACs, such as the Chord Hugo TT2 and Hugo 2, the Sony WM1AM2 Walkman, Woo Audio WA22, and the McIntosh MHA200 headphone tube amplifiers.



At $309, the fun-sounding Meze 99 Classics use 40mm mylar diaphragms with neodymium magnets. The headphones are lightweight, weighing only 260 grams, and their self-adjusting headband system uses vegan leather reinforced by a spring steel outer band that superbly distributes the headphones' weight and pressure.


The soft vegan leather ear pads with medium-density foam are removable and designed for easy replacement. In fact, all the parts of the Meze 99 Classics are easily serviceable or can be replaced, as Meze takes sustainability very seriously in its design process. 


The Walnut wood ear cups are beautiful, with a rich look and attractive grain and pattern that will be unique to each pair. According to Meze Audio, shaping just a pair of earcups takes up to 8 hours, and the entire process, including sanding, lacquering, and finishing, takes around 45 days!


The gold or silver accents, depending on your chosen option, are made from cast zinc alloy with an electroplated coating. The headphones have pretty decent isolation and could make a great office or work pair of headphones, as they are also very easy to drive, even from your laptop and most cell phones.


Of course, they will perform and sound better with a dedicated headphone amplifier, even if it’s a dongle DAC/AMP type. The 99 Classics' FR is 15 Hz-25 kHz, with a sensitivity of 103 dB and an impedance of 32 ohms. 


The headphones include a 9.9’ cable with a 3.5mm plug and a 47” cable with an in-line mic/remote also terminated in 3.5mm that pairs with the included 3.5mm to ¼” adapter.  The cables are of ok quality, and the biggest issue with them is that they are very microphonic, so not moving them around much when listening is ideal.  They are terminated with 3.5mm to the cups, so there is a chance you could use other 3.5mm terminated cables if they will fit the cups.


The headphones also include an airline adapter, a soft zippered cable storage pouch, and a hard zippered case. Another thing to note is that the spring steel headband is also quite microphonic when touched, so avoid this when listening. 


Overall, I am pleased with the headphones' build quality, design, comfort, and visual aesthetics, especially for $309. So, let’s dive into how the headphones sound! Warm, engaging, fun, and completely unfatiguing are a few words I would use to describe the sound of the Meze 99 Classics.


They are not the most resolving or technical-sounding headphones, which is entirely okay! The treble is a bit laid-back compared to the rest of the headphones' frequency response. The midrange sounds good, with enough vocal focus and intimacy to make listening to both male and female singers enjoyable.


They don’t have the most forward or focused upper mid-range, but there is still enough energy in the mid-range to define string instruments clearly. If you are sensitive to treble and the upper mid-range, as many listeners are, I don’t think you will find these headphones ever fatiguing in those areas.


The mid-bass energy and slam are among the best characteristics of the 99 Classics. Listening to rock, pop, electronic, and metal is spectacular on these headphones. As a nontraditional audiophile who listens to more than classical and jazz, these headphones help with many poor recordings of alternative, metal, or hard rock music from the 1990s. 


Well-recorded rock and pop from artists like Dire Straits are immensely fun to listen to. The bass of the 99 Classics is deep, punchy, hard-hitting, and emotional. If you listen to modern genres of music that are produced with more bass, like pop, EDM, metal, hip-hop, and rock, I think the 99 Classics will bring ample bass to the party, especially in the mid-bass, where they create an involving listening experience. 


Lastly, the 99 Classics' soundstage is pretty intimate and not very wide or deep. The separation of vocals and instruments is decent but not at the level of the more premium Meze 109 Pro. The instrument and vocal timbre are very pleasing, although not neutral; they infuse some warmth into vocals and instruments that are very enjoyable.


So, suppose you are really into analyzing music, or you primarily listen to orchestral, classical, or jazz and are looking for a neutral or more treble-focused sounding set of headphones. In that case, the 99 Classics will not be the best match for those genres. I think an open-back headphone like the Meze 109 Pro will likely be the better option.


Pairing the Meze 99 Classics with a bit more analytical-sounding Amp and DAC, like from Chord Electronics, creates a lovely balance and synergy in sound. I also really loved listening to them with the McIntosh MHA200 headphone tube amplifier when being fed by my Chord Hugo TT2 as the DAC. 


I initially brought these headphones in for review to compare them to the new Sennheiser HD 620S closed-back headphones, which are very similarly priced. However, we have to wait to publish our thoughts on those headphones, so I won’t cover how they compare from a sound perspective in this video. I will reserve my commentary for a future video. 


The two headphones have their own unique sound for different types of listeners or listeners who like to have a few headphones in their stable for various genres of music. So stay tuned for the full video on the HD 620S and a follow-up video comparing the 99 Classics to them.

 I have long been a fan of Meze Audio, and even their more affordable headphones create a spectacular listening experience for a very reasonable price.  Of course, we recommend listening to them to see if their sound signature fits your preferences.

If you are interested in trading up your old headphones, amplifiers, or other gently used audio gear for a new set of headphones or an amplifier, check out our trade-up program, and don’t forget we will price-match other authorized dealers! 

We have some cool videos coming this year with new product announcements, so please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel today!  From $150 earphones to multi-million-dollar home audio, cinema, and automation systems, TSAV is a HiFi enthusiast's paradise for building the system of your dreams.

So, let’s start the conversations in the article comments on what you think of the Meze 99 Classics! Until next time, friends, remember, let the music be your guide!

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