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Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir Closed-Back Headphones

Massdrop x Meze 99 Noir Closed-Back Headphones

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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:
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!
Would recommend to a friend.
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.
Would recommend to a friend.
See all 729 reviews
Q&A Highlights:
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 43 questions

May 10, 2022
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.
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!
Feb 23, 2024
I like this slot. This and my Hifiman Ananda stealth is keepers. Its more bassy fun sounding than my super detailed Ananda. Nice to use when travel. I've had HD6xx, beyerdynamic amiron home, Audeze lcd1, Audia Technica mrs7b, Sennheiser 598 and some others and have sold all of them.
Feb 7, 2024
So, I bought these from Drop along with the HD6XX. These Meze 99 Noirs are so good!! I love them, lots of separation and more bass than the HD6XX.
Hey everyone, happy Denon D2000 user here. I like them a lot, but the treble is sometimes a little bit too prominent. Would the MEZE 99 be better in this regard?
Oct 12, 2023
These headphones are by far the best headphones I’ve ever used. The sound quality is immaculate and the sound stage is incredible, not to mention the depth of the bass. The fit and finish of these headphones are incredible, the auto adjusting headband is perfect and they fit my head so well. They are also light as a feather so you don’t even know that you’re wearing them. (mod edit: removed affiliate link)
(Edited by moderator Jyri_Drop)
Jun 11, 2023
When will this headphone come on sale again?
Apr 2, 2023
My pair of these has crackling that causes ear pain after a while. Does this happen to anyone else? It seems dangerous and I'm quite disappointed. Didn't notice it for a while until I began to have pain. Then noticed the crackling and stopped using.
Mar 27, 2023
Desperate to get these but live in UK - has anyone shipped a pair over and been stung by customs fees? If so, how much?
Jan 14, 2023
I'll leave the sound review to more dedicated audiophiles, but I recently brought these on an interstate trip and they sat really nicely on my head for the entire 3 hours back and forth trip. The CNC wooden design looks better in person and it drove fine out of an iPhone with the basic adapter. (mod edit: removed affiliate link)
(Edited by moderator Jyri_Drop)
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.
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.
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