Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Meze 99 Neo


After an enjoyable week with the 99 Classics, I’m very excited to get to revisit the exceptionally balanced and versatile house sound of Meze!  Made of more modest materials, the 99 Neo offers a fun twist on the great sound of the Classics without the luxurious wood cups. An frankly, really like the black and chrome aesthetics of the 99 Neo over the wood and gold of the classics. It has a slick contemporary vibe about it.

As always, while I am in no way affiliated with nor being financially reimbursed for my thoughts of the Meze 99 Neo, you can pre-order them right from their web site here!


The 99 Neo arrives in clean professional packaging. It's box is easy to open and features a magnetic flap to keep it closed. With a soft felt lining to keep the headphones cushioned.


Even cooler is the semi-hard shell that Meze includes with the 99 Neo. The semi-hard shell is the perfect size for the 99 Neos, and zips up easy. I had no issues tossing gently into the passenger seat of my car. It's the perfect balance of both form and function.



It even includes a little mesh cable for the detachable cables.


with even more soft felt to protect the headphones inside their shell. I really do like those little consistent details, and around this price point I like to see a few extra accessories come with a well built headphone. 

Speaking of build, the quality is top notch on the Meze 99 Neo. The pleather headband is simply comfortable and I had no problems with getting a good fit, nor any discomfort. 



The ePads are equally comfortable and the fit is simple, I will mention though some have noticed a drastic change in sound based on how well they seal. It has been reported that with a proper seal, these are very bass heavy... how ever with a "broken seal" they have a much more even sound. For better or worse, I apparently never got a true seal. I experienced a more balanced bass response throughout my listening. Maybe, there is some secret ritualistic fitting motion with my hands I'm forgetting to do or I just have a goofy shaped head. Either way in my week I never felt they weren't sealed properly. They sat evenly on my head, without excessive pressure or heat.



The gimbals are strong and sturdy. At no point during my listen did they ever creak, squeak or make any kind of audible noise. The headphone as a whole is well assembled, and feels sturdy in the hands. Best of all, just like the 99 Classics, ever part of the 99 Neo is serviceable and replaceable! Peace of mind and reliability like that is priceless in our modern age of disposable technology.



An best of all, that textured glow on that black ABS Plastic only compliments the shine of the zinc alloy hardware.

But packing, design  nor build are what's most important, the real question is how do they sound? 




Specs Frequency Response

  • 40mm Transducer
  • 15Hz-25kHz Frequency Response
  • Sensitivity: 103dB @ 1KHz, 1mW
  • 26 Ohm Impedance
  • Rated Power Input: 30mW
  • Maximum Power InputL 50mW
  • Detacbale Kevlar OFC Cable
  • Gold Plated 3.5mm jacks
  • Weight: 260 Grams without Cable


I found the overall sound of the Meze 99 Neo to be a warm neutral. With wet mids , a pleasant bloom in the bass and well extended sparkly highs.

Speaking of bass, I found it to be quite warm. Good extension and no humps, though there's a touch of audible distortion depending on what your listening with. For me, out of my Project Ember II, I didn't hear much of that distortion. Switching to my Pico Power it was a little more obvious. Still, my nitpicking will not be as obvious to those of you who will be living with these, enjoying your music! An music, is what the Meze 99 Neo Compliments. The bloom in the bass response adds a pleasant fullness with Jazz, Rock & Roll and Hip Hop. It didn't do as well with big percussion like Timpani drums, or Electric Bass solos. The bigger drums tended to sound a little bloated, and with a electric guitar solo there was a touch too much audible distortion and reverb. Again, I doubt most of you are going to be listening to a 3 minute Neo Classical Electric Bass Solo.

The transition from bass to mids is smooth, there is some bleeding but again it's not intrusive. Having a slight forward focus on the low mids, I found both male and female vocals to flesh out nicely. Guitars, both accoustic and electric, had a good edge and bloom to them. With a touch of wetness and a relaxed decay.

I enjoyed the top end the most on the 99 Neo, plenty of detail sparkle and air! With neither harshness or sibilance the 99 Neo has excellent top end extension. It pulled a lot of familiar details from all of my favorite tracks, such as the distinct and very quiet gong at the opening of So What to each and every breath taken in Igor Levit's Goldberg Variations, Track #1 BWV 988 - Aria with 30 Variations. 




However the Meze 99 Neo's strong point isn't micro detail or an amazing sound stage, but rather it's relaxed and versatile sound. It pairs easily with many different sources and with both local lossless playback or lossy streaming! It's not at all picky about what you hook it up to, but it scales nicely with better gear. Noticeable improvements are within the sound stage as you scale up, with both my at home and portable set ups it resolved left and right channel imbalances without to much difficulty and presented a modest sound stage overall with good air in-between the instruments. While nothing about the sound stage and micro detail were breathtaking, nothing was obviously flawed or claustrophobic. Good sound was consistent, regardless of source.

What the Meze team have done, is bring a versatile, comfortable and durable headphone to a crowded market. One with a modern contemporary styling and a sound signature that really lets you relax into your music. An that's what I like about it, very much a simple to own, simple to use enjoyable headphone!


Finally, if you'd like to read more check out the HD 25-1 ii vs Meze 99 Neo comparison here on Head -Fi

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