Meze 99 Classic Gold Walnut Wood Headphone Review – $300 Beauties!

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Meze 99 Classic Gold Walnut Wood Headphone Review – $300 Beauties!

GET A DISCOUNT USING MY CODE!!! “STEVE10”

Ahh yes. A nice day for a headphone review on my camera review site!  Yes, I DO review audio gear fro time to time and most of you here probably had no idea 😉  Most of the HiFi on this page (see my reviews here) is more of the High End variety. I mean, I recently reviewed the amazing HiFiMan HE-1000 $3500 headphones. I also reviewed the McIntosh MA8000 Integrated amp that comes in at $10,000. These types of HIFi are the best I have ever heard in life, and I have heard them all and owned most over the past 25 years which is how long it has taken me to upgrade to what I have now in my office. Was a long and slow road but so worth it, as I LOVE music.

In addition to being a camera/photography junkie I have always been into HiFi Audio as music always has a special way of taking us away from our daily grind and worries. With headphones, we can make this a more private personal thing as now the sound is IN our head and a good headphone will immerse you into the performance. With SO MANY headphones out there ranging from crap to amazing and from cheap to insane how do we know what to choose for our tastes? That is always the hard part, and since I get audio gear sent to me now for review in addition to cameras, I do get to test many things. Many headphones as well. Amps, speakers…man my job is fun.

So get ready as this year will open up this site to more than camera reviews. Expect to see a few drone reviews, headphones, and some other special audio gear from time to time. Will be much less than cameras of course but hey, if I am interested in these things I am betting many of you are as well.

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Today, headphones can range from $200 to $10,000 and up but this particular review is for a set that comes in at around $300 and they are WELL worth it to anyone looking for a nice set, who enjoys quality without spending a fortune and someone who likes the look and style of the MEZE 99 Classics Gold. They also come in silver if you prefer a more “understated” look…as seen above.

My Video Look at the Meze 99 Classics


Yep! Today I am looking at the MEZE 99 CLASSICS GOLD. In build, in style, in comfort and in SOUND they are fantastic. For $309 these are as good as you will get unless you step up to $500+ models, and even then, those $500 models will not look as nice as these do. If you like a little style and flash in your headphones, look no further.

All of you here all know I review only the things that really get me excited… or that I really like, or things that present a good WOW factor or bang for the buck for my readers. These headphones surprised me, as I expected them to be subpar. They are quite the opposite, giving more bang for the headphone buck than most brands out there today (hint, for great sound using your phone as a source, these sound so much better than BEATS or most brands available at chain stores). At $309 the Meze 99 Classic Gold means business…

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With soft luxurious large over the ear earpads, real wooden cups and the uber comfortable spring headband, these guys will wow you when you unbox them. They even come with a hard shell case and two very nice cloth covered cables.

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Lookin’ Good!

So we have established instantly that in the looks and style dept, these rock. Well, if you enjoy this kind of look. Many will not, but many will. One thing these are not is understated. Use these on the subway and people will be wondering what those are on your head..who makes them..and some will probably ask you where you bought them. In person the look and build is fabulous. Nice box, nice packaging, beautiful construction with no flaws I could find, and comfort, which is rare for me and my big ears. BUT…BUT….

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SOUND?!?

They sound great. In fact, they punch above their weight in this price point for sound.

These have a neutral very PLEASING but “lean on the warm side” kind of sound. Meaning you will not put these on and wonder “where is my bass” – “where is my mids” or “where is the treble”. Nope, these headphones somehow, someway, have strengths all the way around. Usually, this $300 price point always has some sort of weakness or compromise. This is usually in build or style (not here) or on sound (again, not here) or with included accessories (NOT here). When I put these on my head, using my iPhone for the source I was blown away. With my iPhone as the source these beat my Audeze EL-8 closed backs. These beat the Master and Dynamic cans I have here as well that seem so popular these days. As for beats, these crush them in every way and easily give beats the cheap plastic beatdown they deserve.

If I could explain the sound further..it would be detailed yet smooth…warm yet NOT…full and rich but never bloated. Listening as I write this and skipping through all music from metal, rock, pop, ambient, bluegrass, techno and so on. ALL sounds good.

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One thing that struck me was the rather larger than expected SOUNDSTAGE. Usually in $300 headphones we do not get the luxury of experiencing a large wide soundstage yet these give us a taste of the higher end here..just a taste but remember, I never heard much of this in most other $300 headphones. This tell me that if you buy these, you may start to get into it and start looking into higher end headphones. It is how it happens. You get great but want the best…so these could start a journey for you that you never expected to take, if you are a audio enthusiast anyway.

Since these are not uber high end HIFi headphones that require a serious amp, I realized they did not scale at all when I used them on my McIntosh Head amp. In fact, they sounded just as good using my phone as my expensive amp. This tells me they are built and designed for phones, which is good as usually higher end cans do not do so well in this area (usually a lack of volume but not here). The Meze 99 Classic gold have LOADS of volume with using the phone as my source. Again, I see no real compromise in these at this price point.

My fave moment with these came one night in my dark office, sitting in my comfy chair and sipping some Absinthe. The Roliing Stones “Wild Horses” came on and I was amazed at what the Meze 99’s did for this song and for me. It was lovely with nice vocals in the center of the stage and the sound was expansive much more so than the usual $300-$400 headphones. Was VERY real, something I usually do not associate with headphones at this price. While they do not get close to the $1000 and up cans, these do very well up to $500 yet cost $300.

IF I WAS BEING PICKY, I would say they could offer a little but of a more refined sound..but I can not say this at this price point as I never heard better at this price. I have heard a ton. For $309, these are a great buy and if this is in your budget, and you like the looks and design/colors and you want a GREAT set of cans to use with your mobile device..right now as of Feb 2016, I have not seen or heard better for the price.

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WANT 10% OFF? USE MY CODE “STEVE10”

Meze also gave me a code for anyone who reads this and wants to pick up a pair at a discount, for my readers, through April 2016. You can click here to see more or order them at MEZE. Then if you want a set, use code “STEVE10” for a 10% discount. This code is good through APRIL 2016.

Bottom Line: I recommend these for anyone with a budget up to $500. Lovely set of headphones.

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14 Comments

  1. Placed my order for a headphone on 15th February, paid with Paypal the same day
    Until today, no delivery. 🙁
    I think I have to get in touch with them!
    John

  2. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your nice review (and discount!).
    Do you know how these cans compare to the Denon MM400?

  3. The article came at the right moment as I was looking for a new headphone for my iPhone/iPad.
    As I will be traveling a lot by train in the near future, this will be in my suitcase.
    I saw MEZE last year at the IFA exhibition in Berlin, and had a short trial of their new headphones.
    Login forward to get one.
    Thanks Steve for sharing this with us.

    John

    p.s. I have ordered the Maple Silver

  4. Know nothing about hi fi but many many years ago a friend invited me to his place to listen to a few sounds.
    He had a Linn deck a Naka something tape deck a valve amp can’t remember the brand of the speakers ?
    Anyway it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life no exaggeration.Worth pointing out he had a brilliant music collection as well.We both loved jazz.
    Suppose if you love beautiful things you have to pay
    If I had the funds maybe !

  5. Steve, at one point you mentioned somewhere you were going to review some Wilson Benesch loudspeakers. Did you not have the opportunity or do you find them not worth of comment? Personally, I find them very clinical…criminally so in some cases.

    • I had them heer for 4 months. They were great but no where close to the Sopra #2 or SF Guarneri. The Sopra #2 is teh best speaker I have heard up to $50k in my room. The WB bookshelf had almost no bass, and were very bright. The Vector was great but still kind of small sounding and not up to the level of the others I have had here. For the money, you can do better for sound IMO. I usually only review what I really LOVE.

  6. Hi Steve, very unfortunate that you are in your own opinion a “jack of all trades”, which a) is not the case and b) has made your photo site a non “credible site”… very sad to see how you are demolishing all the hard work. Also as of late, that you are no longer willing to post “comments”, that does not fit with your “view of the world”. I wonder why…

    • As stated before, the only comments that get held are when teh system auto flags a comment for moderation. They get approved within 24 hours if they are not attacks. ANY attacks from anyone on anyone will not be approved, period. This site is not a free for all for trolls like some other sites are. It has MY name on it, and I control what is shown because yes, there are sadly many individuals in the world today who just like to be rude for the sake of being rude. When that happens, and only that, the comment is not approved. If someone has something relevant to say, positive or critique, it goes on. But bad mouthing others will never be shown here, sorry. Oh, and this has been my policy for eight years, nothing new, no changes. Always the same since DAY ONE. Thank you.

  7. I think if you like a headphone or not largely depends on you personal listening preference. I happen to really like the Phlips Fidelio 🙂

    The most common description i have heard about these is that they are warm, bassy and fun with a big soundstage and forward midrange. I think this is what the producer intended and with a 32 Ohm impedance they will certainly sound ok from an iphone.
    There are many good headphones in the 300$ pricerange actually a few years back that used to be the sweet spot for good headphones with classics like the Sennheiser HD 600, AKG 701 and Beyerdynamic 880.
    A closed headphone makes the most sense to buy to hear music on the go or in environments that are either noisy or where sound leaking from the headphones can disturb others.
    If you are not wanting to listen from your iphone (which in the case of the iphone 6 is a bad source) it might we well worth trying out different headphones to see what kind of sound you prefer.
    If you want to go out with headphones there are also other options like the Oppo PM3 (which i dont like but they have a similar sound signature) or the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 which are cheaper look less fancy and are among the best sounding cans I have heard up to 300$ and are actually portable.

    I think if you use a low quaity source like an iphone it’s not really worth it to burn a lot of cash on portable headphones.
    If you want to experience a very high end sound and cannot afford super expensive speakers headphones can get you there a lot cheaper but not cheap. Even entry level Stax or some Audeze LCD-X will blow you away on a modest PC setup.

    Among many other headphones I also own a pair of Bose QC15 which i exclusively use for flying because they have the best noice cancelling ever. But music wise they sound more like a 50-100$ headphone.

    So in a nutshell: Try before you buy 🙂 I honestly believe that Beats are only successful because their owners have never compared them to ANY other headphone in the same pricerange. Comparison is key to find the best headphones for you.

  8. Hi Steve, this review just comes in time, I am looking for a headphone pairing my iPhone between $400-500. This one looks gorgeous (for me), is there any other models that you would recommend within my price range? Or you think this is good enough so that I can save 100-200 bucks for more music. Thanks!

    • I have tested the Fidelio, the HD600’s and the HiFiman 400. PLUS MANY MANY more. Master & Dynamic is in this range as well. The MEZE 99 beats them all in build and sound. To me, the fidelio comes in last of the ones mentioned. Wasn’t a fan. The HiFiman work best with an amp. These are meant for smartphone or iPod type of users and they excel in this way more than those that require an amp to scale up. I see these as style and substance where most have substance and no style or style and no substance. There are better headphones but none I have used in this price range, using a mobile device.

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