Meze 99 Classic – comparison with the neo

on

video review here

sound demo here

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INTRODUCTION

Previously, I reviewed the Meze 99 neo, a great headphone that everyone on my team loved. I even put it as “all in one solution” for both home and portable usage. Now we review its bigger brother, the Meze 99 classic. With minimal differences, I was doubtful that there would be any sound differences. However, to my surprise there were few notable differences aside from the “looks.” Read on to find out more.

ABOUT MEZE

Meze is a Romanian audio company that has their values set right.

Their values:

Meze Headphones had stood by its values since the beginning of the company, we did not follow trends and let them influence the audio quality and design of our headphones. They are timeless objects that will not go out of style the next season. We achieved this through patience and dedication.

And where there is values lies passion:

Our passion for music and art is the drive behind Meze headphones. We created our range of headphones and earphones with this aspect in mind. We created them as if for ourselves.

and their wood craftsman ship set above normal standards:

The choice of wood is an inherently difficult one. Obtaining the desired qualities for wooden parts is a long and hard path. The rich colors of walnut require the use of air drying, the longer and more expensive process. Steam or kiln drying are cheaper techniques, but the colors tend to be washed out and there are also structural risks. It takes eighteen months for the wood to dry properly. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient: we know that the result is worth the wait.

Then, the process of shaping just a single pair of earcups takes up to 8 hours. The whole process of sanding, lacquering, and finishing lasts 45 days. We could cut corners, but we don’t sell ice cream. We fight time: this is the pride of the creator.
The craftsmanship of our designs is paramount. It allows us to show the world our products almost exactly as imagined. The wooden components are carefully inspected and no flaws are permitted to reach the final assembly. Aesthetics are as important for us as they are for you. We want you to wear a pair of Meze Headphones and know that you are enjoying a timeless art piece.

It is worth mentioning that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from sources with certificate of origin. That is, mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycle. This way, we are helping the environment and we’re giving the old trees a chance to shine one more time in the shape of Meze Headphones.

DISCLAIMER

This review unit was sent to me by Meze for this review. As usual, all my reviews will stay honest and unbiased

SPECS

  • 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

THE BUILD QUALITY

The build quality is incredible for the price and I have no complaints. Might as well skip this section if you are looking for anything but praise.

The headphone is asymmetrical, allowing you to plug in the connectors any way you like it. Left & Right is irrelevant. This might seem like a small thing but it is extremely convenient in the long run. – same as the 99 neo

Meze also decided to magically make the headphones more comfortable and fit large types of head sizes be making the headphone adjustments “auto-adjustable,” with it stretching mechanism. There is nothing you need to do to get the perfect fit, Meze says “this is our job.” The headphone fit perfectly with great comfort and isolation. I felt like the headphones were customized for my head. – same as the 99 neo

Unlike its little brother, the classic comes in nice walnut wooden cups, which in my opinion looks incredible and contributed to the sonic characteristics of this unit.

I do not understand how Meze can automatically find a way to make great stock cables when most companies out there cannot. With that being said, they do come with two cables, one longer cable for home use and one shorter one with control buttons for travel. The cables are braided up to the point of the splitters and then splits into a plastic/rubbery material that also do not feel cheap. I prefer this kind of mechanism (as long as it does not feel like cheap plastic/rubber) because it reduces the microphonic. – Same as the neo

The connectors are 3.5mm and terminates in a 3.5mm with a ¼ inch adaptor.

The case that comes with the headphones is very nice and sturdy however, the headphones do not fit unless you unplug the connectors. They do include a separate case just for the cables but this is very inconvenient on the go and I would like to see a case where you do not need to unplug the connectors. – same as the neo

The clamping force is less than the neo, which I believe contributes to the sound differences.

The metal suspension seems sturdy and very solid. Although I felt like it was a little bit thin, I understand that the headphone needed to lose all the weight it can, for transportation use. – same as the neo

The pads are also very soft and surprisingly comfortable despite its small size. I did find that the cups were a little bit too small and may not fit everyone’s ears perfectly “inside the cups” – same as the neo

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You want to talk about style. Let us talk about style. Hands down, my favorite looking headphones. I personally like the wooden design more than the 99 neo.

SOUND QUALITY

Overall, the sound signature is like that of the neo, so go check out that review for more “how it sounds like,” here, I will be talking about the differences.

What I believe changes the sound: different clamping force & wooden cups.

  99 neo 99 classic
Lower frequencies More quantity Less quantity, more quality. Refined
Mid frequencies More vocal presence Increased soundstage and due to that loses out a tad bit on the vocal presence
High frequencies Pleasant, rolled off fashion Pleasant, less rolled off. More detail
Imaging & sound stage Correct imaging. Less soundstage Tad Less correct imaging. More sound stage

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Overall Thoughts

There is not much sound difference unless you really sit down and go back and forth numerous time on the same track. If you want a great all in one solution at a cheaper value, you go with the neo. If you have a big head or really like wood then you go with the classic.

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