Just looking at the complete Meze 99 Classics Walnut Gold package gives one a perfect idea of just how contended the headphone world has become. In the traditional hi-fi world, a package of this elegance and completeness simply wouldn’t happen for €309, or even €3,090.
Part of a range comprising two earphones and these over-ear, closed back headphone designs, the Meze Headphones from Romania (named after designer Antonio Meze, not a selection of Levantine appetizers) arrive in a nicely finished box, with a hard-shell case, with the headphones and a little free-floating pouch of detachable headphone cables, jacks, etc. There are two sets of Kevlar-wrapped OFC cables – one with and one without an inline microphone/media controller – and these cables dictate ‘handedness’ of the headphones. The cables slot into neat little gold or silver insets in the walnut or maple ear cup. These cables are prone to rustle a little against clothing, however.
Inside the ear cup is a 40mm full-range Mylar transducer with a Neodymium magnet system. The headline point though is those walnut earcups: these are solid blocks of walnut, CNC milled and then hand finished and polished; not in the high-gloss manner of the dashboard of a old Jaguar, but in an artisanal matt finish that gives the headphones a sense of almost organic ‘rightness’.