Literally. They’re made with wood.
Earbuds and I don’t get along. I’ve been through countless pairs, and I’ve hated them all. Some fall out, some have crappy audio quality, some look like they were made for 4-year-olds.
I’m an occasional runner, so I’m always looking for a pair that I can wear while running (i.e., they shouldn’t pop out when the cord dangles and pulls) but are still comfortable enough to wear at other times (i.e., they shouldn’t cause earaches).
I’m not a high-end audiophile, but it should go without saying that the audio quality should be impressive. I don’t need to be blown away with “superb highs and lows,” but I do want to be pleasantly surprised. The music shouldn’t sound like it’s echoing through a tin can is what I’m saying. Is that too much to ask?
Oh, and the cord needs to be durable. I’m not all that careful with my headphones. They usually end up tossed into a bag, and I’ve been gifted with the ability to tangle cords (of all kinds) into knots without even trying.
When it comes to earbuds, I come with a rather sizable list of requirements. (Don’t even get me started on the waste of natural resources that are the stock Apple earbuds.)
So when I was offered the chance to test drive the Meze 11 Classics, which promised “high-end audiophile-quality” sound and tangle-free cords, I jumped at the chance.
Let’s start with the obvious. Yes, that’s real wood. The buds themselves are handcrafted with ebony wood and are quite stunning. These aren’t cheap, plastic buds you might find in the impulse-buy section of Best Buy. These are beautiful, artistic buds straight out of the box.
The cord? It’s a braided textile cord that is indeed hard to tangle. That’s not to say it’s not possible (I did indeed manage to tie it up in a knot as it banged around the bottom of my computer bag), but it has a lovely texture and doesn’t naturally kink on its own.
Included in the box are three different sizes of soft silicone buds. Find your size, pop them in, and be happy. Not only are they comfortable (even after long stretches of time), but they stayed snugly in place while running. Granted, these aren’t exactly “running earbuds,” and Meze isn’t targeting the athletic crowd with this product, but it fit my requirements to a T.
How do they sound? In a word, amazing. As I said, I’m no audiophile, but a quick online search of other reviews (from self-proclaimed audiophiles) turned up similar results. The sound coming out of these little guys knocks the socks off just about everyone.
Rock, jazz, classical, and spoken-word podcasts all sound incredible. I went back and forth with some of the other earbuds I have lying around, and there’s just no contest. The Meze 11 Classics knock them all out of the park. They’re in a league of their own.
I have to admit–they’re not the cheapest pair of buds on the market, but you get what you pay for. They’re available on Amazon for $89 and directly from Meze for $79. I’ve easily spent that much of several pairs of craptastic plastic that didn’t last a week.
There is a small microphone attached to the cord (which also doubles as a start/stop button for your music), but it didn’t get much use. I rarely make calls with headphones. My only (minor) complaint is that the L and R indicators are very small and hard to see, especially in dim lighting.
If you’re in the market for high-end earbuds that deliver fantastic audio and just look downright stunning, you can’t go wrong with these. Highly recommended.
The official specs:
- speaker size: 8mm neodymium
- frequency response: 17Hz – 25KHz
- sensitivity: 101+/-2dB At 1KHz1mW
- impedance: 14 ohm
- rated input power: 3mW
- plug: 3.5mm gold-plated
- cable length: 1.2m
(Meze provided me with a review sample of this product for review. All opinions remain my own.)