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Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir Closed-Back Headphones
$199

Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir Closed-Back Headphones

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$199
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Product Description
A regular fixture on InnerFidelity’s Wall of Fame, PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice section, and award lists around the world, the 99 Classics get a dark new look in the 99 Noir. Made in collaboration with Meze Audio, these headphones update the original medium-brown finish with a deep matte espresso and swap the gold hardware for more understated black Read More
Review Highlights:
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Comfortable, pleasant, good surround, sufficiently detailed, and a lot of bass
By no means am I an audio expert, and so I have resorted to collating the different ways various reviewers here have described the headphones. So if it helps anyone, these are some amateur statistics from almost every review from today and back to Dec 2019 (I had to have a stop somewhere or risk questioning how I spend my time while working from home…): - There were at least 31 mentions of the Meze 99 Noir being comfortable. Definitely the top comment! Although at least 10 did find the headphones uncomfortable whether it’s from the clamping force or from the small pads, or sometimes the small ‘large’ pads. Another 6 found the pads too warming, i.e. sweaty ears. - At least 20 mentions of it having a lot of bass, in a good way, and at least 7 liked how switching to the small pads “tightened up” the bass or produced a more balanced sound. However, at least 8 found too much bass overall (even with the small pads) and at least 3 found the bass boomy and muddy (with the large pads). - At least 17 mentions of getting a ‘warm’ sound or at least 15 mentions of the sound being overall nice and enjoyable. - At least 10 mentioned getting a ‘fun’ (or V-shaped?) sound. - At least 12 liked the ‘big’ sound or wide soundstage for a closed-back headphone, but at least 2 found the headphones lacking soundstage. - At least 5 mentions of the sound being detailed and bright, but at least 14 mentioned of the sound lacking detail, not being analytical, or being coloured in general. - And at least 5 appreciated the good mids or intimate sound. Now on to the part where I try my best to describe the headphones after some burn-in time and prefacing this with the fact that I did switch from pad to pad and ended up using the large pads (mainly due to better comfort): Comfort: Unfortunately I’m part of the small portion of people that found the small pads uncomfortable. Switching to the large pads however made me forget about even checking whether my ear was hurting [Note: I have relatively big ears for a non-alien]. Extra prolonged use (3+ hours) does bite into my left ear. I’ve ordered the Brainwavz pads but it’s still stuck in the US so will update once I try them on! Warmth of pads: After relative prolonged use (2-3 hours), I might realize having ears being somewhat sweaty, but in no way distracts me from wearing when in use. I’ve experienced worse in other headphones, e.g. Sennheiser PXC550 and IEMS in general. Sound: I agree with the sound being very pleasant, enjoyable (see conclusion below), and ‘all around’ (considerably wide but obviously incomparable to open-backs). As for details, they are definitely there but I would suggest to lower your expectations but not lacking to the point that you would need to squint and listen hard for them. As for bass, I agree with this being the main point of the headphones alongside comfort, and it can get a bit boomy and loose, but the genres I listen to don’t focus on too much bass so it ends up with me really enjoying that extra bass. Conclusion: I really think that how much you enjoy the sound of these headphones really depends on what you enjoy listening to. I enjoy listening to different music styles and can say that I’ve enjoyed listening to my favourite albums more ever since I got the Meze 99 and paired it with the Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt and Tidal Hi-Fi. I’m not a gear head though so comparisons are limited to my IKKO OH10 IEM (entry-mid level chi-fi), my Beoplay H4 (entry consumer-grade over-ear wireless), and Audioengine A5+ monitor speakers paired with an entry-level LP player. As a couple of examples (+ mentions of my favourite tracks): - Weezer’s Pinkerton has been my go to since I got the headphones, i.e. because the album sounds really good on the Meze. The enveloping-like sound really enhances garage rock-style music (good bass, a lot of distorted guitars, and crash/ride cymbals) without being tiring. Rivers’ voice takes a bit of a step back, but when the rest of the band chimes in they sound really side-by-side-y in a really nice way. My favourite part? That drum solo in Pink Triangle coupled with double solo guitars where the bass drum really kicks you and not in an overly sharp way. - The Carpenters (yes) has also been another go-to. Karen’s intimate vocals are top of the world for me and she’s known for close-miking, so you get a really smooth and pleasant aural display of her peaceful vocals. Mids take a good step forward and in For All We Know, Karen’s vocal intricacies are highlighted and you can hear a lot of that vibrato and those “sss”, quick breathe-in, and slight lip smacking details (no, I’m not a fan of ASMR). In Those Good Old Dreams, the imaging of instruments and the vocal echoes really stand out. My favourite part, though? The electric guitar solo in Goodbye To Love. - The Beatles, which typically is the material I compare across gear, is… Well, let’s just say that the production and (re)mastering prowess really, really stand out. Most favourite track to listen to? Fixing A Hole and those good hi-hats, vocal echoes, harpsichord rhythm, distorted solo guitar, and melodic basslines. - Simon & Garfunkel, as my way of testing lighter, acoustic styles of music. Favourites? Bleecker Street, Wednesday Morning 3am, Mrs. Robinson, and those beautifully-harmonized side-by-side vocals that stand out well (particularly in the first two). Welp, the time spent on writing this probably could have been better spent on doing actual work? Thanks for reading; it’s my first headphone review ever!
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Would recommend to a friend.
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WARM MUSIC ALL AROUND ME! Comfort too.
Everyone for Tyll at Innerfidelity to Zeos has given these a favorable review. The most compelling review was from John Darko though, and that got me to buy them. The overall opinion being that these are just well-made, fun cans that always sound good no matter the pairing(s). I agree. The "fun" part of these headphones is that the music is just all around me and extremely easy to listen to. I love the way the Noirs present sound: the soundstage is respectably wide with proper imaging, which covers every spot in front of your face--no dead zones. On the right track, one sound or effect can travel along the front of your head without ever dying out, and that gives these things a surprisingly holographic feel. The extra heft to the low end does not bother me. In fact, it feels substantial in a natural way to me--not tubby and bloated like I feared. I should take the time to say that I am using the LARGER EAR HOLE PADS that come with this set, so that is the sound signature I am referring to. I believe the SMALLER EAR HOLE PADS increase bass and treble, but some review or another advised against it, so I have not tried that combo yet. The above traits are a huge bonus for headphones I just bought to kick around the house. I also think the Noirs may scale up better than people have said. I have noticed the difference in swapping sources, and I even got the balanced version of the cable on amazon (the MEZE brand one) to enhance sound a bit. I think the cable that comes with it has a TRRS connection for MICs. I wanted a TRRS that foregoes the MIC for balancing the L & R channels. Finally, the comfort...DAMN. This suspension headband is wonderful. You can put it on your head and gracefully go up and down with the earcups. There is no jerkiness, wobbly nature, etc. Just a smooth fitting that easily adjust higher or lower to fit you perfectly. I wish I had better words to describe this experience, but it is greatly satisfying. Lightweight is another word that comes to mind--easy to relax with. I highly recommend these for people that want to comfortably enjoy well-represented music, but I think some audiophiles will be surprised by how much they enjoy these as well.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Q&A Highlights:
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How heavy is this Headphone? I shall primarily use this for Travel, so I wanna know the weight. Thanks!
Weight without cable: 9.2 oz (260 g)
Is it noise isolating?
Almost every closed-back has some form of isolation from outside noises and this is no exception. Just keep in mind that no, there's no ANC
See all 32 questions

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HoffmanMyster
1154
Community
May 10, 2022
Stickied
Hey everyone, you may have heard about some product issues with these headphones in the past (evidence is currently not far below this very post). We, along with Meze, have taken some steps to mitigate and address the issues and ensure that all existing and future headphones arrive as expected.
  1. Meze has redesigned the package to be thicker and more robust, is including two desiccants inside the package, and has enclosed the package with plastic shrink wrap
  2. Meze has done their own internal evaluation and inspected all units that were produced
  3. A third-party inspection facility tested and inspected all units before they were shipped to us
  4. After the units arrived we spot-checked a number of units to make sure they are free of material damage or any signs of mold
Also as a reminder, Drop offers hassle-free 30 day returns so if you do experience any issues, you can return the headphones for a refund. If you have any questions about this, please post here and I will do my best to answer.
dudeDudeDaDude
2
May 29, 2022
HoffmanMysterI would like to know if there are any (and if yes, how big) costs for return shipping from Europe in case of damages, mold or any other kind of problems with the product, and what is the procedure in general in that case to get a refund, and does refund cover the whole cost, or only the price of the product (i.e. no refund on shipping costs to the customer)? Thanks in advance!
dudeDudeDaDudeI have what should be good news on this - in the case of any damages, mold, or other problems where a return would be necessary, you would simply contact Drop Support for a prepaid return label. Once the returned unit is received at our warehouse, a full refund (minus customs, duties/taxes) will be issued. If you opt for a replacement, we can dispatch a replacement under warranty replacement so you wouldn't incur additional customs fees. So if you choose a replacement unit, there are no fees incurred at all, and if you request a refund instead we would refund the entire amount minus the customs/duties. Hope that helps and let me know if you have any follow up questions!
aslzera
0
Dec 2, 2022
Before beginning my headphone journey, I wish I had known about the 99 Noirs and amazon.com. Owning a pair of Mezes is a no-brainer and, at this price, a fantastic place to start if you're just getting started.
Anjanakrishnan
41
Oct 5, 2022
How durable are these? I sometimes go to sleep with my headphones on and don't want to wake up to a broken headband... j/k but I do stuff them into backpacks while travelling etc so I need something that will last rough handling. My Philips SHP9500's did that well as does the HD6xx. But I want another headphone as backup with closed back for office. TIA.
HecsBox
52
Nov 2, 2022
AnjanakrishnanI've had mine (Neo version, actually) for 1.5 years and worn them in bed quite often (on my back), and I see no signs of wear/damage, nor do I sense any degradation in performance. For traveling, though, I'd put it in the case, as I wouldn't risk having the exposed metal headbands getting bent by other items in the backpack. It may be OK if placed on top of everything else while handling the bag gently, but I otherwise wouldn't risk it. Best regards.
bladeturner
1
Sep 15, 2022
A recommendation to alter the metal headband to avoid micro-phonics. You may have noticed that any vibrations in the metal headband send some pretty unpleasant clanging in the earcups. For me, I experimented with mutes by pulling the two band together with rubber bands. Since this was ugly, I ended up drilling two very small holes in the band at the top of the head opposite each other, and bolted a metal rod with a rubber seal which effectively pinched the two band together by about 1-2mm more than normal. The micro-phonics completely disappear! To simulate this effect reach up when wearing the headphones and just squeeze the two metal bars together slightly then flick your fingernail on the metal. the sounds from the metal are dampened.
sveerhoff
31
Aug 5, 2022
how do these compare with the classics? I see the Neo's for sale on Amazon but they use plastic cups. Does this Drop collaboration truly use wood cups? or the plastic cups found in the Neos?
sveerhoffThey use the same wood as the classics, but with a ridiculously dark stain. I had the same question when I first got my pair. Because of how dark the stain is, and how finely Meze polished them up, they feel like plastic with a smooth matte finish, but you can immediately tell they are wood with the "teeth test" (yeah, all jokes aside, just touching the ear cup to the front of a tooth and very lightly brushing it -- not hard enough to scratch the finish -- reveals the grain pattern of the wood that is too smooth for your fingers to notice).
Bob3600
183
Jun 26, 2022
No issues with mine. No mold or rust. :)
dudeDudeDaDude
2
May 29, 2022
2 questions from my side: 1: What is the stimated shipping time to Europe (Germany), I can not find this information anywhere? 2: Are there any costs for returns from Europe in case of mold on the product or any other damages? Also, for people who ordered in May of 2022, did you had any problems with mold or rust like the older models used to have in 2021? Also, how long you waited for shippment to the place where you live?
derzulya
121
Aug 13, 2022
dudeDudeDaDudeI ordered couple of items before and they delivered in 2 weeks but they were all in stocks at the time. So basically you'll get the headphones in 1 or 2 weeks. You've to pay the customs fee to DHL directly though. Bear in mind. The return shipping is on you. Drop doesn't give a damn about its customers outside the US. In this case, it'll be better to look for a German seller.
kyberpassvw
1
May 10, 2022
I received the email that these were available this morning, 5/10. Are they already sold out?
kyberpassvwTechnical issue on the backend, should be worked out shortly. They are not yet sold out, don't worry! :)
kyberpassvwIt's back up, in case you didn't see yet.
Unborn_Jimmy
59
May 8, 2022
what happened to these?????????
Unborn_Jimmy
59
May 13, 2022
Okay? If you were trying to make a review there's a section for that.
fin170
127
May 13, 2022
Unborn_Jimmy
59
Mar 28, 2022
so are these just dead now? :( man I wanted some
bdmike0031
2
May 10, 2022
Unborn_Jimmydid you get some
Unborn_Jimmy
59
May 29, 2022
bdmike0031Not yet, gotta save up! Just a few more lawns and I'll be there.
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