Meze have outlived the first stage of the headphone world where I would consider the “new boys” to be, they have shown they are here to stay and their latest headphone, the 99 Classics that we have here are certainly a reinforcement of that! It’s their first completely ‘in house’ designed headphone and they certainly have been working very hard on it.
The team behind the brand are a mixture of designers and engineers but first and foremost, they are music lovers, and that really comes across throughout their website which is lovely by the way…
Meze will ship to the UK directly from said website for €309 which is roughly £250 with todays exchange rate.
The Meze Package:
We actually have a really top notch set of accessories in the box including not one, but two cables as just a start! One for use with your phone, tablet or on the go as it has the inline mic, and the second is longer and with no mic so it’s ideal for use at home. They use two simple mono 3.5mm jack connectors on the detachable cable and a 3.5mm stereo jack on the other end so it has clearly been geared for portable use. The very recessed connectors have already caused a problem for aftermarket cable providers as they just can’t get bigger cables to fit, nor find connectors that aren’t stole from the original cables which is a real pain. I think this is a shame, all that was needed were slight wider entrances for the cables.
You also get a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter as well as an aeroplane one. Adapters and cables are kept neat and tidy in a simple, soft, zip up case which sits perfectly in the middle of the larger hard carrying case under the headband of the headphones.
It’s all very professional and pretty bloody luxurious, especially when you consider these are €309?! The hard case is absolutely lovely by the way; it is well formed and looks really durable too! Oh, and just so you don’t forget or think this is an after-market case, it comes with a metal Meze badge on the front for that final touch of quality in the accessory department.
Aesthetics & Build:
This headphone will divide opinion when it comes to how they look, some will think the walnut and gold is stunningly thought out while others will think they are a bit ‘over-designed’ and not something they would wear. I completely get both arguments, I genuinely appreciate how these look, they ooze the notion that they are expensive and many will love that! The wood is gorgeous too, I have a soft spot for good craftsmanship! I just think they are a bit flashy for me, if I’m wearing a headphone out-and-about I want it to be understated and sleek with black and grey colours. The u-JAYS are a stunning portable headphone, I know they are an on-ear design rather than an over-ear one, but the theory applies. The 99’s are just a little ‘busy’ for my tastes. I think they too bulky for portability as well, it’s just a bit ‘look at me’ from a size and design perspective. I know lots of people will adore the design of these; it’s just not to my personal tastes.
Build quality is absolutely wonderful and arguably the best part about this headphone, maybe even the most impressive thing I have seen from any headphone anywhere near this price. Meze don’t use any glue in the manufacture of the 99’s, it’s all mechanical fixings which means they are able to concretely guarantee that their headphones are endlessly serviceable on the off chance that anything should ever need to be replaced. They say…
“CNC carved wood ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating; stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam and soft PU leather are the materials your hands and eyes will get to enjoy. No plastic here for you to see.”
I am seriously impressed with the lengths they have gone to in order to make this headphone standout from the crowd and I think this is a reason in itself to seriously consider these headphones!
Comfort and Usability:
My only little issues with this product lie in this area and of course I’m going to tell you, that’s what we do! Firstly, if you walk with the 99’s on your head the metal on the headband rattles which is annoying. The cables are also quite microphonic which isn’t great either! My next gripe is that the pads can get a little warm and uncomfortable; having said this it isn’t something that has really frustrated me, it’s more of an observation.
Overall though, I find then to be one of the more comfortable portable headphones I have tried. Now I don’t have a big head at all and the clamping force is just right for this type of headphone as far as I’m concerned… BUT if you have a bigger head I’m not sure the spring headband will be suitable, maybe a little too much clamping from the headband, that tends to be the general consensus with the people I have asked to try them on. If you have an average sized head I think the fit will be great for you.
These pads and the clamp force give pretty decent isolation from the outside world, that’s a real plus point for anyone on the go, or just wanting to keep everything to themselves. They did a god job here.
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