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Meze 11 Neo

Rating:
4.28125/5,
Tags:
  1. Army-Firedawg
    Outstanding price/quality iem for lovers of wonderfully musical iems.
    Written by Army-Firedawg
    Published Nov 11, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - wonderful warm tonality, great appearance, strong price/quality ratio
    Cons - Slight distortion in treble/upper treble range (symbols), notable fall off from mid bass downwards
        This year I feel that I’ve been truly blessed with an abundance of opportunities and humbling experiences. From marrying the woman of my dreams, to finally achieving my dreams of earning a position with the Concord Fire Department. God has truly blessed my family. I say all that to say this. I was honored earlier this year by being allowed to take part in a review of their 99 Classic model headphones and truly fell in love with them, and now I find myself being allowed to not only review one of their famed iems, the 11 Neo, but also their 12 Classic’s as well (to be reviewed at a later date). When a company allows me to take part in sampling not just one product they offer but multiple I truly feel humbled and truly honored. I’ve been reviewing products for a little over a year and have sampled a many of items; some making it to review, while others wanted just an opinion for their prototype. And each time I feel humbled by the level of trust given to me. My personal goal as a reviewer is to first and foremost convey, to the best of my ability, my true and honest opinion of a product (which has unfortunately led to a couple of lost acquaintances but my word is all I have in life) so that my readers (or viewers) can hopefully get an idea into the product they will be purchasing. Secondly, I wish to create a partnership and friendship amongst the companies I review products with and build trust so that not only can I continue to review other products, but I wish gain their trust and confidence that I will take care of the products sent to me. And lastly, I wish to someday hopefully in what small influence I can have, be able to say I contributed to the furthering of this absolutely amazing hobby we have hear in the audio world.
    And thus far, from what I’ve gathered, Meze and their crew has listened to their audience about potential shortcomings in their products and has made appropriate corrections within months (i.e. larger ear pads), which says a great deal.Alright, now with all the pleasantries and my blabbering aside, please allow me to discuss my findings I’ve had with this very price approachable, Meze Headphones 11 Neo’s.
     
                                                    20161110_164400.jpg
     
     
        I'm a 25 year old firefighter currently for the U.S. Army North Carolina National Guard. I was formerly a civilian firefighter in Kentucky with the Millard Fire Department before I enlisted and moved to my current location in Charlotte, North Carolina. My current goal is to begin my career again in the civilian fire service, and yes, I am the cliché of wanting to do that since as far as I can remember.
        My interests/hobbies are power lifting, fishing and relaxing to audio products and reviewing them to help other decide on what products would work for them. On that note over the years I've really came to an understanding of what it is I like and look for in audio products.
        What I look for is a relaxing, warm and sensual sound that just drifts me away in the emotional experience of the music being performed. Yes, accuracy is still important but I will happily sacrifice some of that if I'm presented with a clean, warm sound that can wisp me away into an experience that makes me yearn for more.
        My ideal signature are that of respectably forward mids and upper bass range with the bass being controlled but with some slight decay. I like my treble to have nice extension and detail reveal with a smooth roll off up top as to not become harsh in the least. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the (in no particular order) Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI,  Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics.
     
    - Amp.
    -Audio-Technica AT-PHA100
    -Source
        -LG V20
    -Luxury & Precision L3
        -HP 15634 Laptop
     
        I am by no means sponsored by this company or any of its affiliates. They were kind enough to send me a product for an arranged amount of time in exchange for my honest opinion. I am making no monetary compensation for this review.
        The following is my take on the product being reviewed. It is to be taken 'with a grain of salt” per say and as I always tell people, it is YOUR opinion that matters. So regardless of my take or view on said product, I highly recommend you listen to it yourself and gauge your own opinion.


    The Opening Experience
     
    20161110_205440.jpg     20161110_205520.jpg     20161110_210136.jpg
     
     
     

        Or what I like to call the “handshake.” From my view point, this is the closest a company can get to introducing themselves to their customers. I refer to it as a “handshake” because that’s the most applicable way of greeting someone and gauging their character (blame it on my southern roots or whatever have you). It also says a lot about how a person views the interaction. Will my outstretched hand be met with a firm handshake that bestows pride and competence? Or will I receive just a hand that’s been extended only as a courtesy that has no merit at all to it because the individual is too distracted by a phone (or other distractant) or because of no interest at all?
    Thankfully, the Meze 11 Neo’s are most closely related to the reflection of pride and competence. To be honest and upfront, at a MSRP of only $60 I wasn’t expecting the moon or even much more than basic plastic cut outs. But Meze delivers their product in a manner I rarely find outside of $100-150 products.
    The box itself is a nice cardboard that isn’t too bogged down with boasting jargon. The front bestows a picture of the 11 Neo’s in a manner representing the Trident (at least I believe that’s what it is) trademark. The back shows the making of the iem (which never did anything for me personally), a frequency graph (which is always a welcomed addon), the normal specification, and their name and company motto. Very simplistic, just how I like it.
    Upon opening the package (again, I wasn’t expecting much more than plastic) I was presented the 11 neo in a precision cut foam container that held the iems in Meze’s trident design. This simple thing rather impressed me. That small and likely quick thing to do spoke wonders, to me, about the pride they show in their company which reflects in the products presentation.
    Now, under the iems you’re given a respectable semi-hard round case to carry and protect the 11 Neo’s in. Then finally, inside said case is a very nice assortment of tips as well as a pack of Comply memory foam.
    To sum, if I haven’t shown my point, I was rather impressed with the “handshake” that felt both full of pride and company competence.

    Construction
     
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        Cool, I was given a very nice “handshake” great. But was I given a product that I will only be able to use for a short time? Or, do I have a well made gem that feels I would have it for years to come? With proper care, I’m going to sway my vote towards the later.
    The driver housing is encompassed in aluminum, which in and of itself is extremely durable, and of course each is sporting the trident logo.
    The cable is made respectable. Nothing about it shouts out one way or another to me in terms of durability, it does look good though. Moving down, on the right side you’ve your single button universal mic that’s also encased in aluminum. Lastly, towards the bottom of the cable you’ve an aluminum splitter (not the share headphones kind), again with the Meze logo, and aluminum aux jack.
    So overall the cable does some very nice aesthetics and with respect to the $60 price not a bad construct either. One drawback I will say is that there does possess some microphonics. It’s not terrible by any stretch of the word, but it present nonetheless.

    Comfort

        Hmm, ok, so I’ve been given a great introduction to the product and it’s even built well. But can I wear it for long periods??!?!?! Of course this section is going to be quite subjective but as a general idea I’ll say absolutely. Now, I didn’t use the tips that were supplied with the unit for I used my personal Comply memory foam tips (which the 11 Neo does come with 1 pair). The 11 Neo’s aren’t heavy in the slightest and even after a short period of time they kinda just drift away and I forget they are even in my ear. This is rather unfortunate because the warm and soft tonality of them (which will be discussed further in the next section) makes them perfect to sleep with. What makes it unfortunate is that they protrude out too far and put too much pressure on the ear which is not comfortable in the very least.
    Short section but iems are kinda hard to discuss. As to the 11 Neo, they’re wonderful with everything except for sleeping in. Oh, about forgot, but the isolation factor (with the Comply tips) is alright; nothing really exceptional.

    Sound

        Alright, we’re finally putting Meze’s 11 Neo in our ears, how do they sound? For those who’re familiar with Meze’s house sound, will find themselves right at home. The 11 Neo’s present a very nice and warm sound that’s great for relaxing and just enjoying the music. The soundstage is rather close but not suffocating and the imaging is there but don’t expect to be drifted away in the a visual performance. These are very musical earphones that are the perfect summer day on a beach kinda slow. But allow me to delve more into the individual aspects of the sound so that I may explain my findings of the sound better shall I?

    Treble

        The treble on the 11 Neo’s are smooth, soft and clean. They don’t have nor show too high of extension and in fact they peak quite early but this, though initially sounding unappealing, blends very well into the overall sound signature the 11 Neo possesses. There’s no harshness at all when listening to these, even after an entire cd of fast paced violin of high keyed pianos, my ears never got fatigues. Now, when listening to symbols (I’m unsure at what frequency that is) I do hear some distortion that seems like the drivers are overworking themselves in that particular range and they just get tired.

    Mids

        I swear, I think those of you who follow my reviews (rather on here or YouTube) are sick of hearing why I like mids so much but my goodness do I. What other range can you hear the artist's soul and feelings they’re trying to portray in their music? And wow does Meze and their team know how to make some beautiful mids (for what I like).
    Now, being respectful to the very VERY low price point these are being asked for ($60), the mids are very lifelike and appealing to listen to. You can (and I have) very easily listen to either music or talk shows or even youtube videos for hours and be amused by the level of realism (with respect to price) that the 11 Neo bestows.
    Stepping into the price no question for a moment, though these are really smooth to listen to there is a few things that could be improved on. For example when the artists is snapping their fingers or entertainer is talking there is a “flesh to bone” aspect that isn’t that present in the 11 Neo that I wish was. It’s something that really ties in real life and audio product.

    Bass

        The heartbeat of the product. The bass is what controls the pace of the product (for the most part). As relating to the 11 Neo’s, the bass is slow, smooth, and exaggerated with longer decay. Like in the treble section, this is something that looks horrible on paper because the standard everyone looks for and THINKS they must have is a flat response with lightning quick responses. Now there’s nothing wrong with those looking for products like that but I’d recommend you look elsewhere. Because the way the Meze has tuned the signature of the 11 Neo is beautiful and I honestly wouldn’t (or rather couldn’t without raising the price) change anything about it.
    Right quick before I end this section I do want to disclose an advisory against those who like listening to metal or bass heavy music. Though the 11 Neo is a great all rounder it really doesn’t have that great of a bass hit. It has a pretty steep drop off from the upper-mid bass range down.

    Conclusion

        To conclude the Meze Headphones 11 Neo, they live up to, no they’ve greatly exceeded my expectations of what I expect from a very inexpensive and consumer friendly priced product. These are a great all rounder for those who enjoy a far more musical product vs a sonically accurate one. The presentation is very smooth and relaxing and is built soundly enough so that as long as one takes care of it, should last for many years to come.

                                                               20161110_164931.jpg

    Also, make sure to check out my unboxing and review videos. They’re pretty awesome AND you getta put a face to the Army-Firedawg name. If this review helped you out at all please hit that thumbs up button for it really helps me out a lot. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
    1. Bansaku
      Great review, as always!
      Bansaku, Nov 18, 2016
    2. MezeTeam
      Is the pouch black or gold? 
      MezeTeam, Nov 21, 2016
    3. Army-Firedawg
      @Bansaku I appreciate that man thanks.
       
      @MezeTeam It's black, i took this without changing my cameras filter and got this result by accident and I really liked the look of it. Kinda like it's a divine presence in the pouch. 
      Army-Firedawg, Nov 26, 2016
  2. mark2410
    Meze 11 Neo Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
    Written by mark2410
    Published Oct 31, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Highly rich flavour. Greatly pleasing bass. Creamy rich vocals.
    Cons - Can be too thick and creamy. Dry and breathy it just cant do.
    Meze 11 Neo Earphone Quick Review by mark2410
     
    Thanks To Meze for the sample.
     
    Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/824405/meze-11-neo-earphone-review-by-mark2410
     
    Brief:  Meze goes warm.
     
    Price:  £49 or €59
     
    Specifications:  Frequency response: 16Hz - 24KHz, Impedance: 16Ohm, Sensitivity: 101dB (+/- 3db), Total harmonic distortion: < 0.5%, Noise attenuation: up to 26dB, Titanium coated 8mm mylar driver, 3.5mm gold-plated jack plug, 7N OFC cable, length: 1.2m
     
    Accessories:  A shirt clip, 5 pairs of tips and a pleasant little case.  A pretty reasonable bundle.
     
    Build Quality:  Very good.  Meze seemed to have leapt into making things like that of on an old hand at this sort of thing.  Despite the 11 Neo being vastly cheaper than the 99’s these seem to be as nicely constructed.  The buds are all metal and impeccably put together.  Everything thing feels good.
     
    Isolation:  So so.  As dynamics go they aren’t super bad or anything but these aren’t high isolators.  They were fine ta go walk about outside with but even at on a bus, hmm yeah I wasn’t loving them.  So Tube commuters or for a long flight id look elsewhere.  Though if you have music running you may well not notice traffic so do pay attention with your eyes.
     
    Comfort/Fit:  Great.  Zero issues on either aspect, in and done.  Happy to wear all day.
     
    Aesthetics:  The look very good.  Rather subtle but their metal nature means they look great to me, not obvious perhaps but I liked them lots visually.
     
    Sound:  Heavy, warm and rich.  So in a completely different turn from the 99’s these are all warm and sumptuous.  The bass is warmly rich, rather largely scaled and very rolling, pleasing on the ear.  They are very weighty with a strong follow through.  Everything on them is so easy on the ear, warm and rich, smooth, oh so smooth a presentation.  Everything on them sounded so pleasing and enjoyable.  Never hurried, dry or open they don’t really suit stuff that needs to be so, they also really can’t convince you of a breathy presentation.  They make everything warm.  As such slow, more bassy, smooth vocal tracks with a relatively light treble work best.  The treble is moderately detailed but its softened and slightly meted presentation means that treble heavy stuff, well it gets warmed up considerably.  If these were a drink they would a creamy mug of hot chocolate with some marshmallows floating, slowly melting on the surface.  While it is lovely and is perfect for certain things, like of a snug winters evening but if you want something to jolt you awake with its clarity and lightness, this is not it.
     
    Value:  Rather good.  The audio is super creamy, sumptuous and they are excellently put together.  Well worth their price tag.
     
    Pro’s:  Highly rich flavour.  Greatly pleasing bass.  Creamy rich vocals.
     
    Con’s:  Can be too thick and creamy.  Dry and breathy it just cant do.
  3. ExpatinJapan
    The Meze Neo 11 is a great sounding and well priced earphone
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Oct 12, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent build, beautiful airy and detailed sound, fairly neutral... but not dull flat
    Cons - no neck slider, learning the buttons can be tricky

    Meze Neo 11 (Gun Metal) Review - Expatinjapan

     Head Pie  
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    Meze Neo 11 (gun metal) review​
    -expatinjapan
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    Meze have released several products with their most famous so far being the Meze 99 Classic headphone, a beautiful combination of design and technology with many fans, reviewers included.
     
    This new entry into the Meze line up is a light weight, easy fitting, sweet and airy earphone that will please many listeners not just for the price but for the sound.​
     
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    Packaging and inner details

     
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    Specifications of the Meze Neo 11​
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    Frequency response: 16Hz - 24KHz
    Impedance: 16Ohm
    Sensitivity: 101dB (+/- 3db)
    Total harmonic distortion: < 0.5%
    Noise attenuation: up to 26dB
    Titanium coated 8mm mylar driver
    3.5mm gold-plated jack plug
    7N OFC cable, length: 1.2m
     
    [​IMG]
    Photo courtesy of Meze.​
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    A great carry semi hard case to keep the earphones clean and safe.​
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    A nice wide range of tips.​
    Double flange and a range of small bored single tips.​
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    Photo courtesy of Meze.​
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    Build
     
    Meze put a lot of time into their products and the Neo 11 is no different. A well thought out solid and comfortable design.
     
    Also see the Meze photos at the end of this review for a break down of the many parts and components used.
     
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    A mic for receiving those important phone calls whilst on the go.​
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    Controls:
    Hold down the button: Voice control/talking
    1. push: Play/Pause
    2. clicks: Next Song
    3. clicks: Previous Song
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    Nice gold plated jack with decent cable support.​
     
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    Nice rounded edges for a painless insertion and comfort over long periods of listening time
     
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    A supple, strong and tangle free cable.​
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    Value
     
    At US$60 on Amazon they are to beat in terms of price and sound quality.
    Anyone who has tried the Meze 99 Classic headphone knows that Meze puts out a decent product.
     
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    Fit
     
    Whether over ear or hanging down the Meze Neo 11 fits a treat. very light and comfortable. I myself preferred the hanging down style, this is probably the intended design as it fits with the mic.
     
    Nicely sloped rounded edges away from the tips and nozzles makes insertion easy and pain free as well as a decent array of tips to select from.
     
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    Sound
     
    I used various Daps and dacs to give the Meze Neo 11 a good working over. Priced at around US$60 I refrained for the gentle approach, I thought an item from Meze would probably be able to withstand the abuse.
     
    As usual I got over 100 hours on the earphones because those who care about burn in care about such things, and for those who don`t ....well it doesn`t matter anyway to them whether its 1 hour or hours....so everyone is happy.
     
    On with the show!
     
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    I started with the CEntrance DACPortable and just shuffled some songs as per usual.
    Morcheeba - Gain1. Dynamic, good body, medium instrument separation.
    The Pixies (Surfer rosa album) - `Cactus`. Gain 2. A bit flat, not so dynamic, a quiet recording?
    Radiohead - Paranoid Android. Gain 1. Perfect, accurate, good body, nice smooth treble, fast response, vocals balanced with the music.
    Bic Runga. Sub bass has a slow decay.
    Black eyed peas. Tight and clean.
    Mazzy Star - A bit dark and murky in the lower end.
    Red hot chili peppers - Coherent, fun, still that low end. 
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    ipod touch 6G - Good clean match, no dark low end.
     
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    Opus#1 DAP.
    Similar experience to the ipod touch 6G at times.
    Nice pairing, good body, dynamic, medium to wide soundstage, good decay.
    Good height, nice timbre and non-fatiguing.

    Trying out my go to tips for fit; 
    The JVC Spiral tips added a bit of low end body to the music. Smooth. detailed. Wide sound stage. It strangely takes off some of the top end sparkle, but not all. Adds more mids. A bit flat.
    Back to stock tips: wider sound stage, more height and more treble.
    Ortofon tips.These seem to provide a good balance between the the JVC and stock tips. Nice treble, height and width with nice body.
    I will even drag out the Spinfits for all the fans: Good reach and airiness, nice vocals, bit artificial sound.
    Ortofon for the win, with the stock tips a close second.

    Stock: small bore, Ortofon: medium bore, JVC Spiral tips: Large bore.
     

    The Neo 11 prefers perhaps a flat, neutral or slightly lighter DAP to sound at its best.
    That is where is comes into its own, nice and smooth, resolving, organic, decent medium soundstage with a delightful airiness overall to complement the highs.

    It isnt a flat reference earphone, but remains quite even over all. Bass can be increased with the complys If that is ones wish, mids are slightly recessed but not overly, enough treble without being sibilant.

    A fairly accurate earphone with a sound beyond their price. two pies up!
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    Overall
     
    The Meze Neo 11 is well designed and constructed earphone.
    Proving once again you can have quality design and sound at an affordable price.
     
    At times I thought the Neo 11 was like a lighter and brighter Shozy Zero, which is priced the same. Why not have both I kept thinking as they would be a good coupling for the budget shopper.
     
    It is very user friendly in terms of fit and sound signature.
     
    It is quite wonderful what they have done for such a low price. Elegant design and sound.
     
    Smooth, organic, non fatiguing, decent detail, medium sound stage, good instrument separation, medium height and width, bass could decay a bit faster for my tastes, luscious but not over bearing mids and detailed highs.
     
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    Meze stock photos of the Neo 11 Gun metal earphone​
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    Thank you again to Meze for sending Head pie and King Rudi the Meze Neo 11 for review​
    -expatinjapan​











      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. Bansaku
      Nice review!
      Bansaku, Oct 28, 2016
  4. cleg
    Affordable neutrality
    Written by cleg
    Published Oct 7, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - design, build quality, materials, sound, price, box, attention to details
    Cons - neutral representation doesn't suit everybody
    Company Meze with their model 99 Classics literally took personal audio market by storm. Offering great price, stylish and functional design and superb sound, their headphones didn't have any option but to succeed. Meze, of course, decided to continue development and recently released two models of IEM — 11 Neo and 12 Classic. Did they managed to repeat the success of elder model? I've tried to find this out with 11 Neo.
    1MainPic.jpg

    First of all, I'd like to thank Meze for providing me their earphones in exchange for my honest review.

    As usual, I won't spend much time, describing packaging, accessories set and build quality. There are few good reviews from respected Head-Fiers, covering this. So, just my own subjective impressions.

    Box is really good, small, but sturdy, with excellent cardboard quality and polygraphy. Accessories set is absolutely nice for this price range. Earphones build really good: metal body with interesting unusual shape, thick reliable cable, strain reliefs everywhere. 11 Neo reach perfect both in esthetics and stamina. Due to small size, they fit nicely in almost every ears, and offers good comfort and nice sound isolation (not the greatest, but anyway good).

    2Box.jpg 3InBox.jpg 4Accessories.jpg

    I should also mention Meze's attention to details. For example — jack, cable splitter and talk control block have similar design and size, so it gives 11 Neo much more expensive look. This level of accuracy usually can be expected from mid tier models with price starting at \~$200, but this earphones costs just 59.00€.

    So, without any futher delays I continue to the sound.

    5CloseView.jpg

    For this IEMs evaluation I've used following gear.

    • NuPrime DAC-10H and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC/amps
    • Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2013 as a source
    • Audirvana+ as a player
    • Lotoo PAW Gold, Fiio X7 and Luxury&Precission L5Pro as portable DAPs

    I gave this IEMs 48 hours of burn-in, but there were no big change in sound.

    In this model Meze decided to make almost flat frequency response, but without being too neutral, and lifeless sounding. Such models are pretty rare among dynamic IEM, since many users prefer the "traditional" V-shaped frequency response. By the way, for the latter, Meze created model 12 Classic.

    6WithoutTips.jpg

    Bass in the Neo is quick enough and has noticeable depth (not a record one, of course, but pretty good). This model won't satisfy those, who like strong low frequencies accent. Furthermore, the amount of bass here depends on used tips, for example, SpinFits and double-flanged tips can raise the amount of LF. Personally I prefer more neutral and polite bass, so I've chosen large single-flanged tips, giving perfect amount for me. With this option, bass is really detailed, but without being too dry. It has nice texture and layering. Lows are controlling really good and don't bleed on mid frequencies.

    Mids of this earphones tend to be neutral, non embellishent and play just what is present on recordings. Compared with more mid-centric IEMs, 11 Neo sounds more modestly, but at the same time more skillfully. Of course, there is no such crazy level of microdetails like in BA IEMs, but for dynamic driver resolution is really good. Imaginary stage is above average in width and about average in depth, but layering is really good. Instruments sounds realistically and separated well.

    7WithValoq.jpg

    Treble is also quite good for its price. In comparison with the more expensive models, I can spot some lack of decays refinement, but it's noticeable only on some tracks, and in comparison with models that is 3-4 times more expensive. Meze's engineers were able to avoid the two extremes - they did not emphasize the highs to create the effect of "detalisation" and did recess this part of the range for a "comfortable" sound. For treble-sensitive persons 11's can be a bit "too much", but to my taste, these earphones are very well balanced on highs.

    This model plays pretty good with mobile phones and inexpensive players, but because of its neutral representation, they can sound dull, if source didn't manage to saturate music with a sufficient level of nuances. With good DAPs of middle segment, situation changes dramatically, the sound is live and realistic, it is one of the most natural of headphones in its price range. This model also has reasonable sensitivity around 100 dB, so they are pretty tolerant to the background hiss of DAPs. One small drawback IMHO, is lacking of option without headset.

    8StyleShot.jpg

    Style-wise, this model is universal enough, if you like not embellished representation, but of course, neutral representation suits best for classic, chamber music, vocal, jazz with a small number of instruments. Simply put, those styles where technicality is necessary.

    To conclude, Meze were able to repeat everything necessary for success. 11 Neo offers cool design, normal price and interesting sound. Of course, neutral representation does not fit all, but Meze have "complimentary" model 12 Classics, focused just on the fans of the "traditional" signature. I must admit that good sound became more and more affordable, and it's a good news for the regular music lovers.

    As usual, I've made a first impressions video.
      B9Scrambler and hqssui like this.
    1. hqssui
      Thanks
      hqssui, Oct 7, 2016
    2. Bansaku
      Nice review and video! Can't wait for my 12 Classics and 99 Neo to arrive!
      Bansaku, Oct 28, 2016
  5. Cinder
    Natural Sound, Unnatural Value
    Written by Cinder
    Published Sep 19, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Premium build, good cable, natural sound, comfortable, light, good eartips, Comply, visually attractive, cheap, good detail
    Cons - Button is too slow to click

    IMG_20160919_132537.jpg

     

    -Introduction-

    I review a lot of budget earphones in the $30–$60 range. It’s not uncommon for me to review an earphone in this price range that’s lauded as a giant-killer, only to be severely disappointed in it’s lackluster performance. The 11 Neo challenges the notion that budget earphones need to be compromised in order to deliver both a dynamic listening experience and a solid construction. While it’s not perfect, Meze made sure that the 11 Neo is worth your serious consideration.
    The Meze 11 Neo can be bought directly from Meze for $59 in either the Iridium or Gun Metal color here.
    Disclaimer: This review is based upon a sample unit provided to me by a manufacturer or distributor in exchange for my honest opinion and un-edited words. I do not profit in any way from the writing of the review. I would like to thank Lorand at Meze for sending me this review unit
    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.
    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.
    Source: The 11 Neo was powered like so:
    PC optical out-> HifiMe SPDIF 9018 DAC 3.5mm out-> earphones
    or
    HTC One M8 3.5mm out -> earphones
    or
    Nexus 6P 3.5mm out -> earphones
    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    -Sound Signature-

    Initial Impressions:
    The 11 Neo sounds like a gentle V-shaped earphone. Mids aren’t too recessed, but aren’t in your face either. Treble is fairly prominent, but not overbearing. Bass is lifted, but not bloated. It’s a very good, synergistic tuning, that I find easy to listen to. It handles everything that I throw at it well. Crywolf’s Stardust Redux remix? Impactful. Red’s Hymn For the Missing? Sonorous. ACDC’s Shoot to Thrill? Electric. Resolution could be better, but for $60 I expect nothing more from the 11 Neo.
    Treble: Songs used: White FlagMidnight CityOutlands
    Treble is slightly forward, but not in your face. The 11 Neo does a good job keeping micro-details present, but macro details from overpowering and pushing away other parts of the song. Extension is decent, but nothing spectacular. The 11 Neo does a decent job in maintaining an orderly experience in Outlands by separating the violins and layering them well. Treble-wise, you don’t even really miss the super upper-treble as what you currently have is more than enough to feel like the song is full bodied.
    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole SittaJacked UpI Am The HighwayGood Life
    Mids are slightly recessed, but still bodied and detailed. I really like how Meze managed to tune the 11 Neo so that, despite the recession of emphasis, the tonality of the guitars, drums, and pianos doesn’t get smudged away or removed. Jacked Up’s pianos weren’t as tight edged as I would have liked, but still sounded nice. The 11 Neo really opened up what I consider to be a rather dense song in terms of the mids, really separating out each instrument nicely. There are two pianos in Jacked Up, something I didn’t really notice until now.
    Bass: Songs used: LightsGold Dust99 Problems (Hugo Cover)Leave Me
    The 11 Neo is definitely not a bass-head’s IEM. Instead of opting for as much impact and rumble as possible, Meze chose to give bass only a slight elevation in emphasis, preserving the 11 Neo’s ability to play a multitude of genres well, while still being able to provide depth to the songs that need it. Light’s kick drum was well-shapen, and had a good wetness to it. This is also true in Gold Dust. While it’s certainly not as good at shaking your skull as hybrid IEMs like the Rose 3D-7, it is no slouch either. The wet bass-drop of Gold Dust resolved very well, just not as deeply as some listeners might want. Bass (to my ears) peaks at 80Hz range, and begins to decrease in emphasis around 50Hz.
    Leave Me’s drop also resolved well, having a good amount of depth and wetness to it. However, the impact and rumble just wasn’t there. You could tell that the 11 Neo’s bass was firing on all cylinders, but it just wasn’t tuned for this sort of music.
    Clarity: Songs used: ThroneMap of The ProblimatiqueI’m Not Alright
    The 11 Neo handled Throne very well. While the mids did have a hard time keeping up, I found that there was little to no distortion. The story continues onto I’m Not Alright. The 11 Neo does an admirable job resolving the many instruments in the chorus, but ultimately fails to get the treble-bound details pushed through the din. That’s okay though, as I don’t expect a budget IEM like this to be able to do what a $400 IEM like the Pisces BA can.
    Sound Stage
    Sound staging is definitely intimate. Even in big open songs like those on Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack, the 11 Neo pulls the instruments closer to you. This makes the 11 Neo a good on-the-go IEM, but might not cut it for those symphonic critical listening sessions.

    Packaging / Unboxing

    I’ve just moved, and had to leave my camera behind. Unfortunately, I could not take any good pictures of the boxes before I left. However, before I did leave, I did jot down some notes:
    1. Good size, with informative graphs
    2. Not too much marketing jargon
    3. Pictures of the item present and non-rendered
    4. Solid internal protection of the product
    If you want to see some images, please look around on Head-Fi. I’m sure others have taken some good photos.

    -Build-

    Construction Quality
    IMG_20160919_132145.jpg

     ​

    Construction quality is pretty good, as per Meze’s mantra. The driver housings, Y-splitter, and 3.5mm jack base are all made from brushed aluminum, giving the 11 Neo both a premium and a durable feeling. The aluminum build is very light, so much so that it doesn’t even feel like metal at all.
    IMG_20160919_132047.jpg
    The cable is also pretty nice, and has an almost carbon-fiber like appearance. It has a nice heft to it, and has a smooth finish. It is comfortable to wear under the shirt, and doesn’t catch on random things. It also has a pretty low amount of memory, leaving all but the most bent parts of the cable free from untidy and unkempt curvature.
    Meze did a good job with the stress-relief of the 11 Neo, ensuring that there was enough plastic all around the build to relive any mechanical tension that may be exerted upon the cable.
    IMG_20160919_132606.jpg

     
    However, my favorite feature of the build by far is the gentle depression on the back of the driver housings. It makes the 11 Neo look pretty classy, but also forms a very handy place for you to easily press the 11 Neo into your ears.
    IMG_20160919_132017.jpg
    The in-line controls are also pretty sturdy. The button is nice and clicky, but is a little difficult to get a double-press off of due to its spring-back time. If this was adjusted, I would give the 11 Neo full marks on build quality.
    Controls
    The 11 Neo has a mono-button set of inline controls which includes a microphone. The button, as I mentioned earlier, is nice, but is hard to double-press due to the amount of time it takes to spring back.
    Comfort
    The Neo is comfortable, but doesn’t entirely disappear into your ear. I had no trouble finding a fit with the included silicone tips, and definitely didn’t have a hard time with the included Comply.

    -Accessories-

    [​IMG]

                                                                                                                            Taken from Meze website​

    [​IMG]

    The 11 Neo is stocked fairly well for a $60 earphone. The case is also pretty sturdy and is thin enough to put in your pocket without having to worry about whether or not your shiny new earphones are going to get hurt in transit.

    -Summary-

    The Meze 11 Neo is a very good budget IEM. With a natural and versatile sound signature, you really can’t go wrong with it for $60. While it could use some work on the inline control’s button, the aluminum build of these inexpensive IEMs is flawless. Good job Meze, you’ve made us a budget-based winner.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Cinder
      Sure!
      Cinder, Sep 23, 2016
    3. Bansaku
      Great review! Can't wait for mine to arrive!
      Bansaku, Oct 28, 2016
    4. Cinder
      @Bansaku Glad to have been of service. You won't be disappointed.
      Cinder, Oct 28, 2016
  6. Currawong
    The Meze 11 Neo IEMs are an incredible bargain, with sound quality normally found in much more expensive models.
    Written by Currawong
    Published Sep 3, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Well made with metal parts and nice cable. Excellent sound with fantastic bass and crisp treble. Tip rolling works well. Comply tips included.
    Cons - Somewhat upper-mid forward with stock tips. Smartphone-only version. No "choker".
    [​IMG]
     
    When Anthony Meze revealed the 99 Classic full-sized headphones, he surprised everyone with their unique design and good sound. Not content to stop there, he turned his attention to IEMs, the result of which is the 11 series and the latest metal "Neo" version. Like the 99s, he sought both a classy design and good sound, and from my initial impressions has managed to pull of both. Out of the box they are elegant, from the aluminium earpieces, splitter and plug, to the translucent cable through which you can see the braided shield of the high-quality cable.
     

    A small, round pouch is included in the box, along with Comply isolating foam tips and a cable clip. The Neo 11s only came with a smart-phone cable, though most portable electronics are wired to handle this now and I had no trouble using them with a Chord Mojo or any DAPs I had to hand. The standard tips are medium-bore and appear to be the same as those that come with the DITA IEMs.  As the tip bore width affects the sound signature, I found that this was quite important when choosing tips to use with them.
     

    Meze_11_Neo-D75_5068.jpg
     

     

    I've usually been disappointed by inexpensive IEMs, but after listening to the $50 Shozy Zeros, my expectations were high. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed -- on the contrary, I was very surprised by the quality of what I was hearing from their single dynamic driver. Out of the box with the stock tips they are fairly even-sounding, with a bit of upper-mid and treble brightness on some tracks. A pleasant mid-range brings instruments forward and the bass has lovely impact and impressive precision, which dynamic driver IEMs are known for. While they aren't as good at giving a sense of soundstage, the overall sound from the titanium-coated drivers is quite cohesive, and has a good degree of precision and instrument separation in exchange.
     
    Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, surprisingly for a pair of IEMs that are relatively bright, didn't come through as spaciously as would be ideal. A bit too much emphasis on the upper-mids pushed the instruments a bit too far forward to be ideal, though the speed of the driver allowed me to experience individual instruments quite clearly. Despite that, the delicious bass made cellos sound fantastic. 
     
    Where the 11s worked quite well was with rock, such as A Perfect Circle. The distinct and precise bass is dialled in just perfectly for bass guitars and drums and the more forward and brighter-tuned mid-range pushes the vocals and guitars in your face, if somewhat at the expense of any sense of soundstage.
     
    Meze_11_Neo-D75_5076.jpg
     ​
     

    It was at this point that I thought some tip-rolling was in order. My first preference is for SpinFit tips, purely for the comfort. SpinFit's turned the 11 Neo's into bass cannons, but not at all in a bad way. The too-forward upper mids were tamed but despite the bass going up a LOT it didn't lose its cohesiveness and the fine details weren't inhibited. If anything, that the instrument details managed to come through so clearly despite the somewhat overbearing bass was a very good sign.

     
     Bi-flange tips can be problematic on some IEMs, mucking up the sound quality, but in the case of the 11 Neos they brought similar results that the SpinFits did, so with their better isolation I am thinking I may have found a good pair of IEMs to take with me on public transport.

     

    Sadly the Complys, with their excellent isolation had the opposite effect, considerably dulling the sound, the IEMs losing their magic entirely.
     

    Another favourite lately has been the JVC Spiral Dot tips which use, as the name suggests, a spiral of indents to reduce turbulence from internal reflections. These brought a sparkle back to the treble and a bit of needed soundstage to the sound, pushing the mids back a bit while keeping the wonderful bass intact. The Spiral Dot tips unfortunately made some brighter pop music unbearable, leaving the SpinFit tips the best all-rounders for the 11 Neo, unless I stick only to acoustic music.
     

    That left me with a pair of deliciously punchy IEMs which were highly entertaining to listen with across a variety of genres. The bass never got in the way of the mids and treble at the moderate levels I listen with.
     
    Meze_11_Neo-D75_5078.jpg
     

    Overall when listening with the 11 Neos I didn't feel like I was listening with sub-$100 IEMs at all, but a pair that was quite a bit more expensive. At one point I was using a $1000+ rig with a Mojo and Soundaware DAP to listen and the combination didn't sound out of place at all. Fantastic stuff from Meze once again.

     

    Thanks to Meze for giving me a pair to review. 

      1mctous, Tom22, B9Scrambler and 5 others like this.
    1. senorx12562
      Nice review, Amos. These guys are really on a roll lately, eh?
      senorx12562, Sep 3, 2016