Meze Audio 12 Classics V2 by CoolGuitarGear
The Meze 12 Classics V2 are at an excellent price point ($69 USD) for the quality of audio, which are very close to the $400 over-ear, closed back 99 Classics, also by Meze Audio. I'll address both positive and negative to these earbuds, but I also included an overview video if you want to check out the features through that medium:
The sound is extremely clear and defined, with every instrument (track) clearly audible and separated. Although they have warmth, the term 'crispness' certainly is a good descriptor. Podcasts are a pleasure to listen to, but music sounds superb. In fact, initially music can sound too clear and relative to how other phones sound (more darkness, mud or blending of the frequencies), and so... they do take a few hours getting used to them.
Now, if you like a big bottom end, which is typical of dance music and some hip-hop, etc., these buds are not for you. The 12 Classics V2 do have a very tight and defined bass response, but they are not heavy bass. The top end is very detailed, but without any noticeable bite or shrill. Some listeners may prefer more bottom end, or possible a bit more top end, but both lead to more ear fatigue more quickly, and so I am quite content with the results.
The above opinion is based on listening to various styles of music, production qualities, etc., from Frank Sinatra to Led Zeppelin, from Pink Floyd to Rammstein, and definitely podcasts to modern dance and radio music. To reiterate, the 12 Classics V2 are pure pleasure, unless you're looking for that boom in the ears.
Here are some of the features that make these highly desirable for the money. First, there is only a modest 'V' shape to the frequency (16Hz – 24Hz) that provides a somewhat flat bass response, a slight dip in mids, and even more dips in the high-end (the high-end does not sound lacking since the entire spectrum is so clear and defined, which also means not having to turn up music so loud to enjoy it). They have low harmonic distortion (<0.5%) and 8mm mylar drivers that are titanium coated, together with a copper-clad aluminum voice coil.
The build quality of the 12 Classics V2 is also high-end for the price, combining the traditional (walnut) with modern curves and feel. The packaging includes a protective pouch, four sets of silicone eartips (different sizes and shapes), and with a 1.2-meter (approx. 4-foot) 6N OFC cable.
Overall, impressive sound you would expect from headphones costing hundreds of dollars.