Are we simply hungry or do Meze Audio’s 99 Classics conjure up photos of flatbread, falafel and baba ganoush, washed down with a chocolate-flaked ice cream cone? Whether or not or not there was any such intent behind the naming of those wired over-ear headphones, they’re, for essentially the most half, as delectable as they sound.
The launch of the 99 Classics mark a breakthrough for Meze Audio, a decade-old Romanian headphones model created by a guitar-loving founder with a want to make a pair of headphones he may really feel as passionately about as his Fender Stratocaster.
Wired over-ears at this value level aren’t as widespread as they as soon as had been, as a result of reputation and growing high quality of wireless headphones, however for anybody whose precedence it’s to get the most effective efficiency this amount of cash should buy, a wired pair remains to be the one reply. So are these Mezes the reply?
Construct and luxury
True to their title, the 99 Classics’ walnut-veneered earcups and gold or silver steel accents give off a robust aura of basic traditionalism.
Meze Audio 99 Classics tech specs
Sort Wired, over-ears
Cables 3m, 1m
In a market more and more awash with minimalist, industrial-looking designs, they’ve a discerningly premium aesthetic, backed by a sturdy construct and satisfying consolation.
The flimsy-looking skeletal body is surprisingly inflexible, whereas their giant padded headband does effectively to stop strain from constructing on the pinnacle. With and with out glasses on, we spend hours listening to the Mezes throughout testing, and their design is gentle and cozy sufficient to take action with out feeling burdened.
There’s, nonetheless, slight proof of the wooden lacquer being worn on the underside fringe of the ear cups by the tip of our time testing them – one thing it’s best to maybe anticipate to occur over time in the event that they’re continuously positioned on a desk.
A hardshell case will stop the 99 Classics from being spoiled after they’re accompanying you outdoors the home, although, and there’s a useful pouch inside that’s giant sufficient to retailer the provided flight and 6.3mm adapters, plus each a 1m cable with in-line distant for transportable use and a 3m cable for plugging into a house system. Each are double-ended on the earcup connectivity finish, with ‘L’ and ‘R’ symbols on the cables denoting which strand goes the place.
With a sonic character that’s straightforward to like at first pay attention, the 99 Classics are pleasingly even-handed and indulge in full-bodied lusciousness and readability from prime to backside. There’s a pure heat to the midrange that laps up Chris Stapleton’s nation crooning as we play Whiskey And You, with the Mezes eager to throw his vocal beneath the highlight.
This isn’t essentially the most spacious presentation we’ve encountered in a pair of closed-back headphones, however we like their willpower to make issues as clear and targeted as doable. Their character invitations you to pay attention, and it’s satisfying to take action.
That solidity extends to the bass frequencies too, with lows impressively deep and effectively outlined, whether or not they’re anchoring the droning bassline underpinning Billie Eilish’s Subsequently I Am or the sombre heaviness of James Blake’s Environment cowl. Those that like their bass fats however not overbearing will likely be happy with the Mezes’ low-frequency dealing with.
The 99 Classics are not any slouches both, their crispness up prime serving to them sound balanced and snappy. We’d, nonetheless, commerce a few of their smoothness and fluidity for a contact extra chew. They have an inclination to gloss over the rhythmic punch and enthusiasm of extra upbeat tracks, stopping simply wanting a wholeheartedly good time. Whereas these headphones are vastly listenable because of their nice tonality and luxury, they aren’t precisely natural-born entertainers.
In comparison with the category leaders at this degree, they aren’t as crystal clear or technically exact because the leaner-sounding Austrian Audio Hi-X55, that are extra analytical in the best way they floor element and categorical themselves dynamically.
The dwindling variety of wired over-ears in comparison with a decade in the past means there aren’t many fashions round at the moment that we’d advocate at this value level. However the 99 Classics are considered one of them.
Whereas we in the end desire the larger transparency and liveliness of the aforementioned Austrian Audios or our long-time favourites, the open-backed Grado SR325e, these Mezes are straightforward to seek out favour with. Their interesting mixture of pure heat and good perception, all-day consolation and basic appears to be like make them an appetising possibility.
Learn our information to the best over-ear headphones
Learn our Austrian Audio Hi-X55 review
Learn our Grado SR325e review