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The Romanian company Meze has done many things right and has made a start in the headphone scene that many other companies surely dreamt of. The first headphone with which Meze entered the international stage, the 99 Classics, is a convincing all-round product. With the 99 Neo, Meze now presents a slightly less expensive model of the 99 series that retains the same elegant appearance and sound signature.
While the Classics have a dignified, warm, and natural appearance, the NEO has a cool, modern, and technical flair. This is noticeable in the price and the slightly more unique bass response: The NEO currently costs around $250 and is around $50 less than the Classics.
Meze 99 Neo Hi-Fi Headphones Review
1. Overview - not finished
Type: Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.0 | Battery: 30 Hours | Charging: 4 Hours | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 45 mm | Weight: 385g
The packaging is the same as that of the Classics:
- A neat black carrying case
- A small accessory bag
- A 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm jack adapter
- An airplane adapter
The bag made of nylon is hard enough, durable, and keeps its shape. The NEO also comes with a 1.5m cable with remote control.
Instead of noble wood, the earcups of the Meze 99 NEO headphones are made of plastic. In this respect, the most noticeable change is, of course, in the area of design and character. The plastic is embossed on the outside so that you get the impression that the cases are covered with leather. The impression even stands up to a second glance, as the workmanship is stunningly good. Overall the quality is surprisingly good, whereas the massive hull and upholstery are absolutely not cheap.
The wide headband distributes a little bit of weight (260 g) efficiently and hardly noticeably on the head. The ear pads made of memory foam nestle perfectly around the ears. The brand has visibly favored more breathable and, therefore, less dense pads, as well as a very tight fit.
Lightweight, comfortable, not bothering at all, the headphones rest almost unnoticed with little contact pressure on my head, thanks to the self-adjusting frame and the finely padded and wide headband. I can thus listen to music for hours in a relaxed manner. When you put the headphones on your head, it feels like they’re made personally for you. That’s how comfortable they sit.
The symmetrical design ensures one more plus: both headphones are independent and are not connected to each other by wires. And this means that I will not face the fact that the cord inside the earpiece will break. The wires of these headphones are replaceable; thus, they can be bought at the manufacturer’s website.
Meze 99 Neo produces a lively, absolutely credible, and unrivaled natural sound compared to its price. The bass is more accentuated than it is with the Classics, clearly firmer and more defined.
No headphone around this price has ever been able to present me with such a realistically diversified spectrum of a piano or violin’s timbres. The subtle yet audible overtones give the timbres their radiance down to the lowest octave. The mids are balanced and present, like in the Classics. Here I couldn’t make out any significant difference to the “original.” Only the lower mids seem to me to be a little pressed by the upper bass range.
Meze 99 Neo’s spatial imaging is more compact than airy. Also, due to the increased bass range, sound sources are more voluminous and physical than average, which gives a nice haptic and sublime impression.
As far as the trebles are concerned, I find – purely acoustically, without measuring – Meze 99 Neo and Meze 99 Classics to be completely identical. Always pleasant and never sharp or annoying, but always highly detailed and flawless.
The Meze 99 Neo dynamics also behave decently for its price range despite its full-bodied tonal tuning. Whereas the instrumental texture of Meze 99 Neo is quite remarkable for a hi-fi headset so competitively priced. With an impedance of 26 ohms and a sound pressure of 103 dB, the 99 Neo is also suitable for smartphones, so you can enjoy your music at home but also on the go.
The Meze 99 Neo doesn’t quite offer the transparency and neutrality of the Classics, but it does provide more thrust in the upper bass and liveliness in the presence range. So if Meze 99 Classics were too classic for you, the 99 Neo could be your newcomer.
Meze’s Neo is really cool, excellent sounding, and very good quality headphones, well-worth it. Quality sound, versatility, good appearance, price compared with competitors, and really very comfortable fit. These headphones can be safely recommended for purchase.
The headphones build on the high performance of the 99 Classics by adding some gentle sound adjustments and with a softer price. If you don’t mind a more discreet design and low noise isolation, these headphones are a better investment than the 99 Classics.