There are three sets of headphones that I use for pleasure listening.
first there’s the KZ KSN Pro. Cheap in-ears that sound way better than you’d expect for their price tag..
Sennheiser 6XX, open back, detailed and balanced. These are also my main audio work headphones.
And then I have this nice set of closed back headphones from Meze: the 99 Classics in Walnut and silver.
Meze sent me these headphones to review to use around the studio and emphasized that these are not mixing headphones but music enjoyment headphones.
Consider this a paid review, although they’re not seeing the video in advance of publishing.
Find out more about Meze headphones here https://bit.ly/3MO95YE
00:00 - Intro
00:49 - KZ KSN Pro
02:47 - Meze 99 Classics
07:52 - hd 6XX
09:40 - Sound Tests Setup
10:51 - white noise test
12:03 - music test
15:13 - final thoughts
KZ KSN Pro
I actually have two sets of KZ in-ears. I liked the KSN Pros so much I thought the other models with more drivers might be even nicer. Honestly I don’t really hear much of a difference between the 2 driver KSN Pro and the 6 driver [model], the KSN fit better, so I wear them most often.
Mostly I use these with the Bluetooth kit with my phone. Every day when I go for a walk I bring these. At first I used them with the lightning to TRRS adapter but some days it would just randomly disconnect in my pocket. It got so bad that I started carrying two phones for my walk just for the headphone jack.
Then I got the Bluetooth adapter kit that adds these transmitter hooks that go behind the ears, and a charging case. The sound quality is decent, the features are minimal – click once to pause, click twice to skip song, click twice on the left to go back – sometimes the connection is choppy from interference or something, sometimes you turn your head and one ear will cut out for a moment. With music streaming from YouTube Music, this is a very decent mobile listening experience. I wish the case was a little thinner, because lately I have to think hard if I’m going to bring it with me.
MEZE 99 Classics
The Meze – these have a really interesting look don’t they? Minimal and kinda elegant wood and steel. They’re light weight and come with some really nice accessories.
This case, two cables, airplane adapter. They feel really well made.
Then you put them on, and immediately notice 4 things.
They attenuate outside noise noticeably.
“Wow, that’s a lot of noise from the cable”
And then when adjust them slightly “what the?! Is this thing vibrating?”
This spring steel headband resonates when you touch it and sends that right to your ears. I found it to be very noticeable and distracting and I plan to make some slight modifications to fix that.
Moving past the mechanical interference, how do they sound?
Really good! very thick bass that does not distort, and the mids are scooped which smoothes out guitars and vocals for less fatigue.
My favourite use for them is actually for gaming. I’ve put a lot of hours into Diablo Immortal, so much that I’ve had to delete the app to get this video done. But a few of those play sessions I’ve worn the 99 Classics and everything just sounds great. Everything is so meaty and powerful. There is a lot of deep lows in the sound design of this game that sounds fantastic in these headphones.
I’m not supposed to use these headphones for mixing but I have a bit. The lows and mids are definitely an issue for setting balances.
The RealPhones software has a profile to flatten the curve and I’ve found at 50% they’re much better for checking mixes, and even setting balances that translate better to speakers and other headphones.
Sennheiser HD 6XX
And that leaves the Sennheiser HD 6XX which was a collaboration with Massdrop, now known as Drop, a group-buy electronic company. They work with companies for limited run discounted variations of popular products like headphones and mechanical keyboards.
I’ve had these for a few years, and if I remember correctly, these have a lower impedance so they’re more compatible with wider range of devices, and the finish is different. They come with a padded box, but no other accessories.
These are open-back headphones which do not isolate at all and this results in a more detailed and flat frequency response. You hear a lot more detail in these headphones than the others which is why I like them for mixing.
I wouldn’t really say I enjoy listening to music on them that much compared with the others because the flat response can also sound a bit dull. You don’t really feel the bass like the 99 Classics or the KZ.
I wanted to demonstrate the sound differences between these headphones so I set up this contraption just as a way to compare how the sound changes. This is a room measurement mic pointed at the Center of driver with the headphones sealed around it. Not very scientific but good enough to hear if one set of headphones is more bassy or brighter or if there’s a weird mid thing compared with another. You can hear this in the video embedded above.
So that’s it. Hope you enjoyed this. Thanks to Meze for supplying these 99 Classics.