Meze 12 Classics review

The Wooden Classics

 

Introduction:

Meze Audio was founded by Antonio Meze in 2009 in Baia Mare, Romania, who was looking for a pair of headphones that he could connect to in the same way that he felt connected to his Fender Stratocaster guitar. The real breakthrough year for Meze was 2015 with the release of the Meze 99 Classics. The Meze 12 Classics is their latest product in the Classics series.

 

Disclaimer:

The Meze 12 Classics was provided to me by the Meze for free of charge as a review sample. I am not affiliated with Meze beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered, opinions about the product.

Price:

The MSRP price for the Meze 12 Classics is 79,00 USD.

 

Package and Accessories:

The Meze 12 Classics comes in a relative small white card box that consists from two pieces, the upper cover and bottom box.

This box includes the following contents;

  • 1 x Meze 12 Classics
  • 1 x Cable clip
  • 1 x Carrying Case
  • 1 x 4 sets of silicone ear-tips (S, M, L & Double flange)
  • 1 x Extra set of Comply foam ear-tips

The Meze 12 Classics comes with 4 sets of silicone ear-tips which are soft and comfy. The package is including an extra pair of comply foam tips which is a nice addition.

The zipper case is a bit small but doses it job. There is also a cable clip which is also a nice extra.

 

Specifications:

  • Driver Type                            : Titanium coated 8mm Mylar driver
  • Coil Type                                : Copper-clad aluminum voice coil
  • Frequency response              : 16 Hz – 24 KHz
  • Impedance                             : 16 Ohm
  • Sensitivity                               : 101dB (+/- 3db)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion      : < 0.5%
  • Noise attenuation                   : up to 26dB
  • Headphone Jack                   : 3.5mm gold-plated jack plug
  • Cable Material                        : 7N OFC cable,
  • Cable Length                          : 1.2m

 

About the Mylar driver:

The Meze 12 Classics features an 8mm diameter single driver with a titanium coated driver membrane which has a copper-clad aluminum voice coil.

 

Design, Fit/Comfort and Build Quality:

The Meze 12 Classics has a small form factor is light weight and very well made. They are two color options which are Iridium and Gun Metal. My unit came in Gun Metal color which has a nice appearance.

The housing of the Meze 12 Classics is a combination of aluminum and wood. The wooden chamber is made of walnut wood and looks beautiful.

The back of the housing sports the Meze logo and on the front is the straight nozzle, where you can find also a small bass vent.

The Meze 12 Classics has a fixed cable, which means you have not the option to chance/upgrade the cable if needed, but looks solid anyway.

The cable wire is made of 7N purity OFC (Oxygen Free Cooper) and has a grey TPU coating which looks like a high quality plastic, but that is prone for microphonic effects.

This cable sports a microphone and a straight 3.5mm gold plated headphone jack.

The Meze 12 Classics is a quite comfortable IEM which is ideal to wear cable down.

The noise isolation of this In Ear Monitor is above average.

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (DSD)
  • Saskia Bruin – The Look of Love (DSF)
  • Celine Dion – The Power of Love (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • LP (Laura Pergolizzi) – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (Spotify)
  • George Michael – Older Album (Apple Music)
  • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing (DSD)
  • Mile Davis – Kind of Blue Album (Tidal Hi-fi)
  • Emmanuel Pahud (Claude Debussy) – Syrinx (Spotify)
  • Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/96 KHz Binaural Recording)
  • Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Daft Punk – Get Lucky (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (DSF)
  • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)

 

Sources used for this review:

  • IEM                 : Meze 12 Classics, Shozy Hibiki, MEE audio Pinnacle P2
  • DAP/DAC      : Cayin N5II, Chord Mojo, Hifiman HM603s

 

The Sound:

This review is written after a burn-in process of approx. 90 – 100 hours and I have used the stock medium silicone ear tips which came in the box.

Please note that this is an entry level Mid-Fi IEM and all my comments about the sound quality are in consideration of this price range.

Tonality:

The Meze 12 Classics is a musical sounding IEM with a warmer then neutral tonality which is a result of the mildly boosted mid-bass area.

 

Frequencies:

The bass presentation of the Meze 12 Classics is mainly focused on the mid-bass area. The sub-bass between 20 – 50 Hz are missing some depth, but sounds otherwise controlled and have also some nice texture.

The bass response of the Meze 12 Classics is accurate and fast for a single dynamic driver and sounds also pretty natural, which is a good ability for genres with real instrumental like acoustic or jazz music. The guitar performance in Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – The River sounds quite natural and exiting.

The mid-bass of the Meze 12 Classics gives the overall presentation a nice touch of warmth. It is nicely textured and is not overwhelming. The transition between mid-bass to the mids is nicely done.

The midrange of the Meze 12 Classics doesn’t sound thin or very full and has a nice balanced presentation. The midrange of Meze 12 Classics sounds also relative transparent and has a clean presentation, which is rarely found in this price category.

Male artists like George Michael or Freddy Mercury sounding relative organic, but the vocal presentation of female artists like Laura Pergolizzi or Saskia Bruin sounds in general more organic. I didn’t observe any overshadowing of the midrange which sounds in most situations clean.

The midrange of the 12 Classics has a nice sense of space and there is enough air between instruments. Some instruments like pianos and drums are missing some weight, but the overall realism it’s quite acceptable for this price range. The detail level and overall resolution is better than I have exempted for his price category.

The upper midrange of the Meze 12 Classics is pretty controlled and has only some minor problems with some female vocals like Laura Pergolizzi, Celine Dion and with some bad recorded/mastered tracks.

The Meze 12 Classics has a treble texture which extends pretty well. The detail retrieval is in a moderate level and instruments like cymbals, bells, violas etc. doesn’t sounding in a metallic or unnatural way. The Meze 12 classics, displays also some nice clarity which is a big plus for an IEM in this price range.

The upper treble range is bright but is not of the sort which could fatigue your ears after some long listening periods. The side flute (transverse flute) performance in Emmanuel Pahud’s track “Syrinx” has some nice sparkle and sound also quite realistic.

 

Soundstage:

The Meze 12 Classics has a decent soundstage presentation for an IEM at a price of 79.00 USD. The soundstage is pretty wide and the depth is above average. The instrument separation is quite good and the positioning of instruments and vocals quite accurate.

 

Comparison:

Vs. Shozy Hibiki:

Both IEM’s have a slightly warm tonality with a pretty good level of clarity.

When it comes to bass presentation, the Meze 12 Classics has slightly better dynamics and bass rendering, but both sounding fairly controlled in the bass department. The difference starts in the sub-bass and mid-bass area. The Shozy Hibiki IEM has more sub-bas quantity, while the Meze 12 classics have a more bass and mid-bass focused presentation.

The sub-bass of the Hibiki reaches deeper and has slightly more rumble, while the Meze 12 Classic sounds more controlled and fuller in the bass and mid-bass area.

Meze 12 Classics has a slightly more forward midrange presentation and sound also more natural in its presentation. I don’t know if this is a result of the wooden chamber but the 12 Classic sounds more organic compared to the Shozy Hibiki. The Meze 12 Classics sounds also more transparent and smooth, compared to the grainier presentation of the Shozy Hibiki.

The Shozy Hibiki suits better for male vocals, while the Meze 12 Classics sound more romantic with female vocals. Both IEM’s have good instrument rendering, while the Meze 12 Classics performs better with instrument like guitars, pianos or drums due its more organic presentation. The instrument separation of both IEM’s is nearly identical and pretty good for this price range.

The upper midrange of the Shozy Hibiki sounds a bit harsher compared to those of the Meze 12 Classics. The Meze sounds relative bright but has more control in the upper register.

The Shozy Hibiki sounds a bit too dry in the treble, but the detail level is on par with those of the Meze 12 Classics. The treble speed of the Meze 12 Classics is better, which is most noticeable with instruments like cymbals, bells etc. The Shozy Hibiki sounds a bit harsh especially in higher volume levels, where the Meze 12 Classics sounds more controlled.

The difference for soundstage performance is not too much, but the soundstage of the Meze 12 Classics sounds slightly deeper and wider to my ears. The Meze 12 Classics has also more air and space between instruments compared to the Shozy Hibiki.

Vs. MEE audio Pinnacle P2

The first noticeable difference is the lower frequency region of this IEM’s, where the Pinnacle P2 has more sub-bass and bass quantity then the Meze 12 Classics which sounds more balanced.

The sub-bass of the Pinnacle P2 sounds deeper and has also more rumble. The Meze 12 classics on the other hand sound a bit more controlled and faster in this region.

The bass especially the mid-bass region of the Pinnacle P2 has better weight and extension then those of the Meze 12 Classics which sounds otherwise more natural.

The Midrange of the Pinnacle P2 sounds warmer and fuller then those of the Meze 12 Classics. But there is a difference in clarity, where the Meze 12 Classics sounds cleaner and more transparent then Pinnacle P2, which sounds veiled due some mid-bass bleed.

The Pinnacle P2 sounds great with Male vocals but a bit too thick with female voices where the Meze 12 Classics sound more natural. The instrument presentation of the MEE audio Pinnacle P2 is pretty good for this price range, but the Meze 12 Classics has additional micro detail, which is really great for the price.

The upper midrange of the Pinnacle P2 sounds a bit more controlled, while the resolution of both IEM’s is quite good. There is no remarkable harshness for both IEM’s, which is a good thing in this price range.

The Pinnacle P2 sounds a bit hot in the treble range where the Meze 12 Classics has also additional brightness and clarity. The Meze 12 Classics has the better speed and control compared to the Pinnacle P2.

The Pinnacle P2 has more consumer friendly upper treble tuning which sounds slightly rolled off, while the Meze 12 Classics has some additional sparkle and detail in this area.

Both IEMs have nearly the same soundstage performance, but the Meze 12 Classics has slightly more depth, while both IEM’s have nearly identical soundstage wideness.

 

Conclusion:

The Meze 12 Classics is a very well made IEM with a wonderful wooden housing, which has a quite detailed sound with a balanced sound signature that will satisfy its owner for a price of 79,00 USD.

Summary (plus and minus):

  • + Great build quality and wonderful wooden housing
  • + Good detail level for the price
  • + Nice balanced sound signature
  • + Comfortable fit

 

  • – No detachable cable
  • – Missing of some micro detail

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