The warm design and sound of the Meze 99 Classics headphones

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It’s fair to say that plug-in wired headphones have followed a similar trajectory as manual transmissions in automobiles: an arc of lower and lower. That said, just as auto enthusiasts feast on anyone who listens to the pleasures and benefits of manual gear shifting, an audiophile attempt to convince others to tune in remains vital for the best audio experience. A pair of Mèze 99 Classics is a convincing example that a warm design with an even warmer sound is worth it.

While the brand name conjures up deliciously delicious spreads of some of our favorite foods, the story of Meze Audio begins with the brand’s namesake, Antonio Meze. Meze founded the company in 2011 in Baia Mare, Romania, driven by his desire to find headphones that would properly complement the warmth of his Fender Stratocaster guitar. And like this legendary musical instrument, the Meze 99 Classics on-ear headphones have been designed to be also loved by their users for all the little details that separate from simple functionality like the Strat.

Details of the Meze 99 Classics helmet.

The closed walnut veneer ear cups with gold-tone metal detailing infuse a classic warmth reminiscent of mid-century hi-fi systems (and in fact, these headphones seem to be intended for use with my own vintage Bang & Olufsen stereo system from the 1970s).

Meze says each pair of headphones takes up to 8 hours to go from wood to the subtly domed shape, with an additional 45 days spent sanding, lacquering and finishing. It shouldn’t be necessary to convince that these headphones are probably not ideal for those who tend to throw their favorite cans on a desk or in a backpack, but designed for audio enthusiasts with a dedicated headphone holder. and the propensity to set aside time to enjoy music without interruption.

99 Classics helmet with case.

99 Classics helmets with accessories.

Plugged into the Cambridge Audio Evo 75 all-in-one system, the 99 Classics helped turn music into an immersive and complete affair – almost rubenesque. Whether listening to classic, indie, electronics or hip-hop, each listening session has left us warmed by sound, as if the harshest elements of n ‘ whatever song was sweetened and whatever was desirable extended outward. Fortunately, unlike many fantastic sounding headphones that start to wear their welcome due to ergonomics after a few hours, the 99 Classics felt comfortable for several hours, both on the ears and on the head. , mainly attributed to the memory foam fit and adjustable manganese spring steel headband that kept the 99 Classics in place even when lying down.

Front view of Meze Audio headphones.

After plugging the Meze 99 Classics back in, we’re not convinced wired headphones are the future of audio, nor a primary choice for most people who likely value mobile convenience over the sonic distinctions of headphones. designed as the Meze 99 Classics. . But as complementary in-home audio gear meant to slip on for dedicated listening sessions, the design and warm sound of these headphones remind you whenever a degree of attention goes a long way.


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