Meze Audio 99 Classic Review.

Disclaimer:

I have not been paid or sponsored by Meze Audio for this review.
The views in this publication are unbiased and my own.

Alexandra and Meze kindly sent these in for review and the currently sell for £278.30.

Review gear:

Samsung Galaxy Note Ten+ running Spotify premium & foobar2000.
Audioquest Dragonfly Black V1.5.
Astell & Kern AK70. ( Single ended )
Macbook Air running Spotify premium & Audirvana Pro.
Teac HA-P50 DAC/Amp.

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Packaging:

These came in the same packaging as the 99 Neo’s did, All be it with different imagery for the Classics. The packaging is basic but well done and protective. The box has a magnetic lid that stays shut in place for easy storage.

What’s in the box & Accessories:

Inside the box you will find the Classics encased in a decent hard-case. Inside said hard-case you will find a zip up pouch that houses the cables.
You will also find any documentation and a Meze Audio sticker to add to your collection. I stick mine to my fridge!


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
  • Ear-pads: PU Leather

Build:

As I have come to expect from Meze Audio the 99 Classic’s are build with the most exquisite craftsmanship and premium materials.
CNC carved walnut ear cups, cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband.
Ear-pads and headband cover made from a very soft and luxurious feeling PU Leather.
The cables are high quality and as well as being made to last and sound great, they look great too!
One of my pet peeves when it comes to headphones is a brand making a stunning headphone then making a cable that feels and looks like an afterthought. A lot can be learned here from Meze.
And Meze Audio state that the 99 Classics are serviceable and built to last. A comforting thought and an example of their fantastic customer care.
The Classics exude premium quality and a solid build that I have sometimes not experienced with more expensive items. Meze have their eye on the ball when it comes to design and quality control and I applaud them for it.

Setup:

Not much to see here.
Meze headphones come with detachable cables which are clearly labeled left and right.
Just plug them in and start listening.

Comfort:

As a result of the love and care that goes into the design of Meze’s products I have so far found that they are some of the more comfortable headphones and in-ears that I have worn.
The ear pads don’t get all sticky after hours of use, even on a hot day like today.
Clamping force is just in that sweet spot of not being too strong or too weak. Once they’re on and you’ve settled into a good two hour long listening session, you’ll hardly notice they’re there. I wore these up to 4 hours with no discomfort or chaffing of any kind. Not that I expected any to begin with.
The cables although strong and well made are very light so don’t pull on the headphones in any way which just adds to the already great comfort levels.
I will add for the record that the Neos are exactly the same in this regard so if you’re looking at them then be reassured the build quality and comfort levels will be the same as the Classics. Please note I do like to tweak my gear so I have a different pair of ear pads on the Neo’s and not the stock items.
Also you can see Meze Audio balanced cable upgrades. These will be in an upcoming review!

Soundstage and imaging:

In my opinion the soundstage is spacious. Instrument separation is excellent with positioning being clear and concise.

Bass:

The Classics surprised me with the weight and depth of bass they produce.
They present you with a fast but deep bass that works well with various genres, however I found EDM and Metal stood out here receiving the largest benefits.

Mids:

I noticed a dip in the mids. Not so much a V shape in my mind but a slight recession of midrange. However the midrange still manages to sound airy and good with vocals.
I feel with a little tweak in EQ settings and listeners will have no issue getting it dialled in.

Highs:

Beautiful highs with a crisp and speedy accuracy.

Recommendation and summary:

I have a few other headphones that sit around this price point and I will say that the Classics are on par with all of them in sound characteristics and performance. They do have one edge over the others in the bass department with more depth and punch.
As for build and cosmetics the Classics are in a league of their own against the other cans I have in that budget range.
They are quite simply a beauty upon the eyes, with an elegance that so far I have only experienced with Meze Audio products.
These are a stunning pair of headphones in sound, comfort, looks and build and they are a testament to Meze Audio’s excellence in design.
If you want to feel like a customer that is being thought of every step of the way from the drawing pad through to customer care you can’t go wrong here.
They suit almost every genre of music I played through them and perform especially well when listening to Dance music or Metal.
I am giving the Meze Audio 99 Classics The Audiophile Cafe’s 5 star rating and couldn’t recommend them highly enough.

You can follow the link here to take a look for yourself.
https://mezeaudio.eu/collections/all/products/meze-99-classics-walnut-gold-wood-headphones

Thank you Alexandra and Meze yet again for sending me out this review item. As always, It’s been a pleasure.

And thank you to my readers for taking a look at my latest review!

Thanks and as always folks, Stay safe.

Paul.

Sennheiser HD450BT wireless headphones with active noise cancelling.

Disclaimer:

Sennheiser sent these in for review. I am not paid or sponsored by Sennheiser. The views in this review are unbiased and my own.

Emily and Sennheiser kindly provided these for review & they sell at £159.99.
https://en-uk.sennheiser.com/hd-450-bt

Review equipment & software used:

iPad Pro 12”. Spotify Premium. Wireless.
iPhone XS Max. Spotify Premium. Wireless.
Samsung Galaxy Note Ten+. Spotify Premium. Wireless.
iBasso DX80. FLAC & Wav files. Wired.



Packaging & Accessories:

USB Type C charging cable.
3.5mm stereo audio cable for wired use.
Carrying pouch.

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Spec:

  • Frequency response (Microphone) – 80 Hz to 6,000 Hz (-3 dB)
  • Transducer principle (Microphone) – MEMS
  • Bluetooth Version – 5.0
  • Supported Profiles – HSP, HFP, AVRCP, A2DP
  • Frequency response – 18 Hz to 22,000 Hz (-10 dB)
  • Sound pressure level (SPL) – 108 dB (1 kHz/0 dBFS)
  • THD, total harmonic distortion – < 0.3 % (1 kHz, 100 dB)
  • Ear coupling – Around Ear
  • Transducer principle – Dynamic, closed
  • Weight – Approx. 238 g
  • Charging time – Approx. 2 hours
  • Pick-up pattern – Dual Beamforming
  • Operating time – 30 hours music playback via Bluetooth with ANC activated
  • Battery Specification – Built-in Lithium-Polymer rechargeable battery: 3.7 V ⎓, 600 mAh
  • Transmission frequency – 2,402 MHz to 2,480 MHz
  • Charging Current – 500 mA max.
  • Audio codec – SBC, AAC, AptX™, AptX™ Low Latency
  • Charging voltage – 5 V, DC
  • Modulation scheme – GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • App support – EQ and updates via Sennheiser Smart Control

Build:

The HD450BT are very well made. Considering they are made mostly of plastic there is no audible creaking and they are flexible when opening them to put on your head.

The size adjustment has a good solid click but isn’t too stiff or loose like I have found on other similarly priced headphones.

The folding mechanism is smooth and doesn’t snap in or out of place which I like.

The cables are pretty basic but well enough made.

Although I’m not sure how well the audio cable will hold up under constant use further down the line.

The carry case isn’t a hard case but it holds the headphones and a few cables with ease and as long as you remember it’s not a hard case will help protect and organise your HD450BT’s well enough.

The ear and head pads are made from a soft leather like material. ( Still waiting on confirmation of material at this time )

Available either in black/grey or white.

One thing that I found frustrating was the lack of any markings on the buttons on the headphones.

For someone with sight issues they could find this a setback. I even had to remind myself at times which button did what.

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Setup/App etc.

Pairing the HD450BT is a breeze. Hold the power button until the indicator flashes and pair it in your bluetooth devices.

The Sennheiser smart control app is free and available for iOS and Android. Once it is installed it will ask to search for any devices. Make sure the HD450’s are on and paired.
For the record I found the app isn’t optimised for iPad but does work.

On my iPhone XS Max or my Samsung Galaxy Note 10 plus the apps appearance is the same and I noticed no differences in the way it works aside from the obvious OS implementation.

The EQ is different to what I am used to. Instead of a 5 band EQ for example Sennheiser provide an EQ where you slide your finger around to find your preferred colour.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok and does a good enough job. However I like a little more control over my EQ in order to get the sound just right for me.
Maybe this is something Sennheiser could look at in future updates. Perhaps as an “Advanced EQ” or “Pro User” selection?

Comfort:

For the price tag these headphones have an extremely luxurious quality to them. The ear and head pads feel cool and soft against my skin and don’t get icky after hours of use.
The clamping force is in somewhat of a “Goldilocks” zone.

Not too tight or loose which is something I sometimes have problems with with Sennheiser headphones.

I was able to wear these for a good three hours without any discomfort or unwanted stickiness from body heat.

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Mic/ANC:

The active noise cancelling is activated with a button on the side of the headphone which is easy to access.

After a few test calls we found the mic to be clear and doesn’t pick up too much background noise.

Soundstage/Imaging:

I found the soundstage from the HD450’s to be somewhat narrow.
However they do have some depth and they image well with decent instrument separation.
I can clearly tell the instruments apart and can make out plucks and string swipes.
I compared them quickly to my HD25.I.II’s and the soundstage is very similar.

Bass:

These headphones pack a hefty wallop once they’ve been broken in for a good day or so. They certainly have no difficulty reaching the lower frequencies yet have a tight accurate pace.

Mids:

The mids here are a little murky. Very forward in the midrange, however this can be backed off in the apps EQ setting.

Highs:

This is where the HD450’s shine. A good helping of clean crisp highs that have a little sparkle to them. Once I had the EQ set just right and played some High Res files the HD450’s revealed a detailed sound that I wasn’t expecting.

Wired vs Wireless:

I didn’t notice any discernible difference aside from the fact that when wired I could push more power through them. This tightened up the bass a touch but nothing too grand.

Summery/Recommendation:

Sennheiser have made a good affordable pair of wireless ANC headphones that fit well into their £159.99 price tag.

They have great sound characteristics and build that I would find in slightly more expensive headphones.

They are extremely comfy to wear and are somewhat easy on the eye.  

The lack of any markings on the buttons is an annoyance but the not the end of the world and has no effect on the performance of this item.

The ANC and mic are great and work as they are supposed to. The mic picks up my voice very clearly and at the same time not too much background noise is picked up.

I would definitely recommend these to someone looking for a budget pair of wireless ANC headphones that can pack a punch.

I listened to a varied selection of music and they performed well across the board.

Thank you Emily and Sennheiser for sending these out to me for review.