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Meze 99 Neo

  1. NymPHONOmaniac
    Full Sound with generous Soul
    Written by NymPHONOmaniac
    Published Feb 18, 2019
    Pros - Natural yet energic soundsignature, wide holographic soundstage, beautifull design, good construction, light and very comfortable, detachable cable, easy to drive
    Cons - Slight bass bleed with bass heavy tracks, some sound leakage
    MEZE 99 NEO (Enthusiast but Late) REVIEW:


    SOUND: 8.5/10
    COMFORT: 9.5/10
    VALUE: 8.5/10

    How much headphone do I have really?? Well, at least 20 pairs ranging from 20$ to 1000$, some go, some take dust, other are sure keeper like this Meze 99 Neo, and it isn’t for perfection of tuning but for the flavor it give. I like musicality way more than technicality in the sens that if it sound too monitor like, well, I just need one pair of those not 20 and as an amateur music producer I use the Sony MDR-7509 for this, wich I don’t use to enjoy music tough. I like different flavor as I enjoy different music style, and it was time that I test this incredibly sexy closed headphones and understand if the good words I read about them was as real as the less enthusiast impression. Yes, I was more aroused by the look than sound description, I wanna touch them, caress them, kiss them , and now I can do it and can tell you that even ifthe body is sexy, it have a sexy soul too.



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    Unboxing Meze products is a very exciting experience, like opening a glossy pharon tomb to find that cleopatra is finally alive. What hit your eyes first is the quality protective case you have, it is made of hard material that take perfectly the shape of Meze headphone, with not extra space.

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    In the middle, another tissue poaching case hiding your nice cable and extra connector. The presentation is sure well thinked, and I think Antonio Meze is really meticulous about every esthetical aspect of Meze brand.

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    Look at this perfect black metal headband curve, this shiny metal holding, all this little details that just wow they eyes and hold attention without forcing an over luxurious esthetical approach : its call elegance. Sobre but eye catchy, mature but not boring looking, something that AKG would dream to achieve with there similar but cheaper headband find in model like the 701. Here, Meze make a statement : it can be as beautifull as comfortable, and durable. This type of construction design for 250$ is something I respect.

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    Even if the earcups are made of plastic, it isn’t a cheap looking one, it have a grainy texture and mate black color that is a pleasure to watch and touch, we will not get overly sensual here but yeah, this type of details even if superficial for sound rendering is very appreciate for headphones collector.


    But must of all, its the comfort, i’m sure any head size will fit between these 2 cups, and even if you can’t sleep with them its as comfortable as having 2 pillows pressing gently but firmly your head. The earcups plastic use make them very ligh even if they have solid metal bands. As well, because I own the AKG K-400 in the past, I know what it is to not being free to shake your head when a song posess you, beleive me these 99 NEO will never fall from your head even if you are a headbanger listening to death metal, they are THAT well soldered to you.

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    And it have a detachable cable too, a kevlar one sir, with a mic...why? Well, I guess because they are adequate to be drive by smarthphone as they are 26ohm and easy to drive, forgive me to never even care to plug it into a phone, i mean, i’m on headfi aren’t I? Anyway, I plug it into the Radstone ES100 so perhaps I would like a mini cable to make them became some kind of BT headphones.


    Sturdy, sexy, curvy, not cheapy, ultimately comfy and...if something really bad happen like you fall from a cliff and survive but they don’t : part changeable, just give Meze a call.


    The Meze 99 Neo is all about musicality, it offer a wide warm and well layered sound that enjoy as much playing contemplative modern Jazz or Classical quartet than muscular bassy electronic or pop music. Neo do not try to be a perfect student that know every answer of acoustic laws but in they end is too serious and utterly boring for music enthousiast, no, he got plenty of personality to share and some artistical imperfection that come with its soul spontaneity. It sound as much natural than excitingly musical and all that with some tenderness to it.

    At first, for the purist or critical listener, depending of music style, it can be a hit or miss, but if you pair the Neo with right clear source like the Xduoo X20 or any clean DAP , Dac or (in lesser extend) phone, it will shine and make you think you have very big open back headphones over your ears or even a pair of well placed hifi speakers from each side of it.

    The bass have great body and weight even if it slighlty decay on mids on bass heavy tracks, mid bass being pumped up and ultra energic giving an exciting turn to acoustic drum used in jazz or rock, mids being lively with impressive presence and timbre that can deal so well with vocal, piano or violin, and treble having just enough extension to give you the details you need without the harshness or peaks that can make long listening fatiguing : Neo is a rebel maestro that know how to read a partition and give it all layers it need but with an expressive twist that will sure polarize audiophile.


    SOUNDSTAGE have something special for a closed back, its very wide and around your head with great imaging capabilities that have extra realist decay to it depending of number of instruments. So deepness is good too, as if you have your head stock in the middle of intimate hall, not a cathedral, but this effect as said is even more phenomenal with music that isn’t overcrowned or extremely bassy, wich give you alot of choice appart from power rock, classical symphony or heavy metal, it will give this beautifull vastly musical and enjoyable immersivity.

    PrAT is above average, but its more about impact and attack, wich without being ultra fast is very agile and spot on, but the pace can be too slow and create unwanted reverberation especially with heavy bass impact.

    AMPING power need is just non benificial with this 26ohm headphone, they are extremely easy to drive wich is a very welcome aspect and underline the fact that Meze make the Neo for portable use. It can be drive properly by anything, but it do not mean it will sound the best with any audio source, cleaner it is, better will sound the Neo.

    BASS is there Alot, its muscular, weighty and very punchy with just the right hint of textured needed to have good grip in soundstage. Lower end dig very deep, so you will have no difficulties hearing clearly sub bass line and it will be well separated from pumped up mid bass, this type of presentation make it as nicely enjoyable for cello centered classical music than synth bass plus digital kick in electronic, but here, better will be the mastering better will be the final result. I really enjoy Vivaldi sonata for Cello and Basso duo, its full bodied and quite clear with wide airy presentation, never feel bloated or artificial sounding, as if we really are in the intimate concert hall with the two musicians, cello being more fowards as it should and lower registry basso being backward but lively with right note weight and presence, Then I put some complex and fast Aphex twin and man, it make my skull shake at high volume, causing more mid punch reverberance than expected and sometime distracting me from rest of audio spectrum due to overly authoritative punch energy. I can imagine basshead banger really enjoying this approach, for me, its the only drawback of the Neo, and its perhaps due to the plastic material used for earcups. So, let’s conclude that the Neo are as much enjoyable for basshead than audiophile, if we choose right music to pair it with.

    MIDS are extremely charming but have dualist approach in some sens, because it will sound phenomenal with bass light music like Meredith Monk albums, in wich her voice it will be full of presence and wideness, with great timbre, enough decay and righly layered from other instrument when it occur. The same lush musicality will happen with Madeleine Peroux if there not too foward sacoustic bass line, as it will sound more full bodied because of this perfect upper mid bass emphasis, but the bipolarity begin when you put boomy electronic or bass heavy pop, wich will stole some of resolution to lower mids. For violin or piano, this will sound perfect, it will had impact in note and extra body, wich is something I crave for as piano can feel thinely rendered sometime, decay will be good too and realist, but if its bass heavy jazz with authoritative bass and toms, again, well, it can warm it a little too much. Anyway, for a U shape headphone, I really find the vocal not recessed, just slightly veiled or coloured in lower mids by bass wich can even be benificial for some song like ‘’Comet Out your House’’ from Lali Puna that have synth bass and heavy electro kick well layered and a timbre registre of the signer that pair perfectly with Neo bassy soundsignature.

    HIGHS aren’t super emphased, but neither veiled or dulls sounding. We are in a warm, musical, permissive world with the Meze, everything is quite balanced with the exception of bass kick. Because of the great imaging and impressive soundstage, instruments do not struggle to show there presence, its there without being overly textured, wich make the Neo so uniquely addictive. Percussion have great texture and extend, but aren’t sharp or too bright, it feel natural and inviting. Listening to Jakob Bro ‘’Welcome’’ song of bass, guitar, sax, drums quartet, all instrument are easily hearable and well placed, and percussion are spot on, classical guitar sounding smoothly behind the center stage wide sounding saxophone, recording was meant to be heard like this and it is a joy to listen with the Meze even if I would have love a little more sparkle and decay in lower highs. If there any colouration in treble, it will be to push some micro details just a hing fowards, wich will help with instrument separation. No harsh peak whatsoever with the Neo, its a reconforting sound, like a hot chocolate in front of a fire, you make yourself comfortable and enjoy a cozy rewarding musicality.



    VS TAKSTAR PRO82 (100$) :


    Even if the price range isn’t the same, I find it interesting to compare these two because both are closed headphones and offer competetive price.

    CONSTRUCTION of Takstar PRO82 is more targeted for worryfree outside portability, while the Meze even if ligh enough as well as beautifull to wear, is more adequate for small walk or inside portability, like school, work or train. As Meze arent foldable, they take lot of space in your bag with there protecteive case that you sure want to use to portect there precious look, so its the type of headphone you care about while the PRO82 in other hand are more a all terrain and careless (to some extend) type of headphone and do not really need protective case as they are quite hard to scratch or break.

    Takstar is all metal including the cups and look very similar to Audio technica ATH50, we can neither say they are beautifull or ugly, and overall sturdiness is excellent.

    For the look, Meze win beauty contest with its stylish luxurious classy look, not doubt about it and that even if compared to PRO82 the cups are made of textured plastic. Its just from another class here and surely biggest aspect that justify price difference.

    Kevlar cable of the NEO is of better quality than the basic one side cable ofPro82.

    Both headphones are extremely comfortable, I cannot decide for a better one here as we just don’t feel pression on head or ears from both and they have about same weight too.

    SOUND quality of both is excellent, but the NEO have a way bigger soundstage that feel airy and around your head compared to the more fowards and wide sounding presentation of PRO82. Bass of MEZE is warmer but have more body and a wider presence, lower region is more accentuated than the more punchy energic presentation of PRO82, wich feel faster than Meze but dryier too. Mids of Takstar are little more recessed even if brighter and more clearly separated from the lows, where the NEO give extra pleasant warmest to vocal or instrument and do not have upper mids harshness like the PRO82. Treble extension is perhaps where the Meze feel less extended, in the sens Pro82 is a very detailed closed headphones for the price even if it lack sparkle or echo like the Meze that have more room in soundstage for instrument placement and decay. All in all, the Meze feel from another league in term of musicality, even if the Pro82 is more energic and (micro)detailed it lack musical finess and lushness of the Meze.

    VS HIFIMAN HE-300 (300$) :


    CONSTRUCTION of the HifiMan HE-300 isn’t that bad for durability with its thick industrial compenents, but its quite rough and squeaky too. The metal that hold the big ear cups look like a DIY project, there screws everywhere, and the plastic used for this cups is thick and cheap looking. For the headbands it use real leather but do not have lot of cushion to it and another time : rough. Meze Neo 99 look like a sent from heaven that have been crafted with love compared to this austere depressing Hifiman design. About design and comfort, the NEO is from another planet where audio lover body is respected and well understand, the HE-300 just feel like an insult to human body in fact.

    COMFORT of Meze is natural and form to your head while HE-300 is a squeaky torture device that is ultra heavy and uncomfortable with cheap earpads that do not form to your head.

    SOUND quality is another time night and day, or let’s say, cold dry night with agressive neon street lamp and colourfull sunny day with fresh air from the Meze ocean.

    The Hifiman HE-300 is really a cold sounding analytical headphones wich can sound musical with very specific style, and even with them, it still ahve a dry soul less approach, everytime I take back the Meze after the listen of same track with HE-300 it was a sincere releive, as if all my nerve were attack with the agressive fowards trebly sound of HE-300 wich even for an open back do sound claustrophobic. I need some air! Thanks Meze for this well needed oxygene : music can actualy breathe!

    BASS of HE-300 is more textured but its like if it try to compensate the lack of weight, punch and body it do not have, while the Meze even if not the tighest in attack separation have plenty of body and punch, wich give a more energic and alive sound without sounding bloated in they end. Mid punch have more finess with the NEO, HE-300 being open lacking in this region even more than lower end. Overall texture of Meze is more adequate and natural too.

    MIDS of HE-300 are overly fowards and agressive and prompt to upper mids harshness, where the Meze is sweet, musical and full bodied even if slighly coloured with bass warmth. Sometime the separation of vocal can be better with HE-300 in bass heavy track….but you don’t want to listen to this too bright shouty fatiguing signing anyway.

    TREBLE extension of HE-300 is sure more prononced and without any roll off, I even suspect bats can’t take as much treble fowardness, its skalpel sharp and crave every details it can, to the point of over saturation, this do not give HE-300 more sparkle and brillance strangely, as the Meze have more natural decay and even sound better with harpsichord instrument as the note have more roundness and impact.

    All in all, the Meze 99 NEO are made to generously enjoy music while the HE-300 is artificial and overly analytical sounding. This comparaison experiment underline the fact that more details do not equal to more enjoyment as well as richer sound, because the body of everynote give a more realist musical rendering in they end.

    VS GRADO SR325i (300$):


    Firstly, perhaps construction look more solid, but its an illusion as the SR325i heavy earcups can slide down for no reason with the time, as well, the cable will undoubtly break one day or another due to twisting earcups. Because of hard on ear pressure and heavyness factor, they became uncomforatble very fast, were the Meze Neo is just pure comfort joy. Overall construction of thick metal cups are perhaps more costy than the plastic of Neo, but as said, it is a design flaw.

    Being open back, one would think the Grado have bigger soundstage but that isn’t exactly the case, its just slightly wider but feel less around your head and tall because of a more fowards sound presentation. In they end the Meze feel more airy and spacious.

    BASS of Sr325i is more textured and grainy, but lack lower extension of the Meze even if both are quite very punchy headphones, the Meze tough add more colouration to the mids.

    MIDS and vocal feel more fowards and present than Neo, but less wide and transparent, as well, it can be harsh in upper mids where the Meze feel smoother.

    HIGHS have little more extension with the grado in lower treble and give extra decay to percussion, but make overall sound feel sometime too fowards.

    All in all, i find myself using more the Meze 99 Neo because of a more forgiving musicality that can be as smooth without bass and very energic and exciting with bass driven music.



    With Xduoo D3 :

    The D3 is an entry level DAP with good sound but clumsy interface. Its very small but quite powerfull as well. Sound is quite neutral, clear, slightly bright but not extremely well layered or detailed. With the Neo it make a good pairing with plenty of volume. The bass kick very hard but isn’t too out of control, in fact, it earn some extra tighness even if it still can be brain shaking a little, wich is a great experience with very bassy track ‘’Koh-I-Noor’’ from Mr Twin sister as the sub rumbling is delicious and do neither stole kick weight or vocal fowardness. We have a good sens of space for the synth that fly around our head and even if D3 isn’t the clearer or must detailed DAP, I do not feel it lack treble extension. The Meze Neo like bright DAP as it make it sound even more energic and give extra focus to treble but stole some soundstage deepness and resolution potential.

    With Xduoo X20 :

    The X20 use the famous Sabre ES9018 dac chip, wich give ultimate clarity and black backgroun noise floor. This is what need the Meze 99 Neo to extract full potential of its excellent dynamic driver. I use must of the time high gain with X20, but not for the Meze wich I find sensible to too powerfull amping, so low gain it is and it sound delicious. Now the bass is more controled, have a smooth texture and more transparency, mid bass is less agressive in attact but still weighty, mids are wide with good presence and tranparency, all layer are clearly separated and overall sound have more details and is more linear. The Neo is more U shape even if far from mid centric, with perfectly clear source like X20 the soundstage feel more airy and instrument separation are more natural. This is my favorite pairing for extra sharpness that just complement rightly the warm airy musicality of 99 Neo.

    With Ibasso DX90 :

    Now, the Ibasso DX90 is my favorite DAP, and it have dual ES9018 dac, delivering powerfull and ultra clear and precisely layered sound. It have 3 gain mode, if you make the error to use the higher gain Neo will sound wrong and boomy, but using lower and clearer gain the miracle happen : its the more neutral balanced pairing I find. Even bassy tracks like ‘’Evensong’’ from Bola sound perfect, as the bass is less emphased but sure still enough punchy. The soundstage potential is take to its paroxysm with synths pads coming from each side of your head, kick and snare in the middle and voice above it in a transparent way, sound presentation being very holographic and dense with all details being push fowards to give extra dynamic to Neo lush presentation. These two was meant to be togheter, DX90 being sharp to the point of sometime making bright headphones sibilant, here the Neo earn from this approach and mix its color with perfect musicality. Even the always hissy background noise of Jessica Pratt recording became smoothed out magicaly, without loosing anything else and even having extra body in vocal presence. Hard to explain, but the Neo love this type of high end audio source, pair them with ultra clear but dynamic and balanced audio source and the Neo black angel take you to heaven. I know that Meze create the 99 Neo for portable use, thinking about phone surely, but to give them full respect, I think they deserve better.

    With Earstudio Radsone ES100 bluetooth receiver :

    This will not give you as much joy as the DX90 in term of extra clarity but will certainly take to next level Meze potential compared to average phone audio out. Here, its a dynamic approach, energic and well layered sound with a fast tigh presentation that help 99 Neo being even more agile and have extra tigh bass.



    I cannot hide my joy listening to the Meze 99 Neo, and hope it will be contagious, but sometime passion about musicality is something more subjective than about technicalities. I consider the Neo very generous with lot of music style, giving extra body to cello or warming voice of my favorite signer with great presence and wideness. As a listener with diversify taste, I always struggle to find the right all arounder, and that even more with closed back, it will either sound good for classical or electronic, the Neo do the trick for both because of extra mid bass. As well, i never have treble sensitivity problem with them and can listen for long hours without any fatigue. For a closed back, it is simply magical. Other aspect is how comfortable these are, it is by far my must comfortable headphones even if not my must portable. The fact its easy to drive do not make pairing complicate, but I suggest extra clear source to make them shine even more and permit some sparkle that can be shy in the highs. Meze achieve a masterpiece of design here, and it deserve credit for it. Sure, 250$ is a serious amount, but as every parts of this headphones are changeable, I think its a good investement and you will not regret having that type of natural but energicaly punchy headphones in your home.


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  2. B9Scrambler
    Meze 99 Neo: Multifaceted Beauty
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Oct 21, 2018
    Pros - Visual appeal - Material and build quality - Long term comfort - Lush sound signature
    Cons - Bass can be bloomy - Headband transmits noise

    Today we're checking out another drop dead gorgeous product from Meze, the 99 Neo.

    Meze is a Romanian company that stormed their way into the spotlight in 2016 with the 99 Classics. That headphone was (and still is) the perfect example of a marriage between design and performance. The simple but shapely form factor, modular design, and eye-catching walnut cups initially drew you in, then it won you over with a very competent sound signature. The 99 Neo keeps much of the same look and feel of the 99 Classics, but with some material changes that bring the price down, along with a slightly altered tune. A 249 USD, the 99 Neo is an extremely compelling product.

    Let's take a closer look!


    A big thanks to Doina with Meze for the wonderful communication in arranging a complimentary review sample of the 99 Neo. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on over a month of routine use of the 99 Neo. They do not represent Meze or any other entity. If you want to order your own 99 Neo, you can check it out here: https://www.mezeaudio.com/products/99-neo


    For at home use the 99 Neo was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or Radsone EarStudio ES100 with my Asus FX53V laptop sourcing music. For portable use, it was commonly run straight from my LG G6 so I could take advantage of the inline mic, or via the EarStudio ES100 connected over Bluetooth to the G6. Both the M0 and M1 from Shanling were also used. The 99 Neo is very easy to drive and sounds great from any sounrce I tried. Bass is a little tighter out of the TEAC, but I don't think amping is needed.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when reading my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

    • Driver: 40mm
    • Frequency Response: 15Hz – 25kHz
    • Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    • Impedance: 26ohm
    • Rated Input Power: 30mW
    • Maximum Input Power: 50mW
    • Weight: 260g (9.2oz) without cables
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    Packaging and Accessories:

    The 99 Neo's packaging is clean and elegant in design without much in the way of frills. The front contains a straight on shot of one side of the 99 Neo showing off the smooth curve of the spring steel headbands and new, black plastic, highly textured ear cups. The left side outlines a few features and special qualities, like the self-adjusting PU headband and power efficiency so it can paired with any phone. On the right side of the package you find a frequency response chart along with a comprehensive list of specifications. The back is my favorite part. The coloring changes to matte black with a wire frame image of the 99 Neo printed in a contrasting reflective black. Centred is;


    MEZE 99 NEO


    It all comes together beautifully, perfectly exemplifying the subtle beauty of the design of the 99 series of headphones.

    Flipping open the magnetically sealed flap, you are immediately greeted by an outstanding hard shell EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) carrying case. The case is curvaceous and form fitted to the 99 Neo, just like it was with the 99 Classics, However, here the exterior is coated in a much more durable material than the faux-leather used on the 99 Classics case variant. Inside you find the 99 Neo surrounding a velour pouch in which the accessories sit. In all you get:
    • 99 Neo
    • Hard shell EVA carrying case
    • 1.5m Kevlar thread OFC cable with mic and remote
    • Gold-plated 1/4” adapter
    • Airplane adapter (though this isn't shown on the website anymore)
    • Velour cable and accessory pouch

    It's disappointing that the 99 Neo doesn't comes with a second, mic-free cable as the 99 Classics did, but at least the mobile cable here was improved over the one provided with the 99 Classics. Cloth below the y-split, rubber above means microphonics are no longer an issue.

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    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The 99 Neo isn't just a pretty face. The construction of this earphone is immaculate. The PU leather ear pads are thick and soft with a uniform ovular shape that wraps around the ear. They attach to matte black plastic ear cups that have an attractive pebbled texture. 99 Classics parts make a visible appearance here, since when you the pads are removed the baffle the driver is attached to is still stamped with the Classics' part details. Other hardware, like the silver ring around the base of the ear cups, the surrounds for the cable port, the hanger connecting the PU head pad to the spring steel headband, and the centre cap that connects the headband to the ear cups, are made from electroplated, die-cast zinc alloy. It's all put together with outstanding attention to detail, and much of it can be user replaced if broken since the 99 Neo, like the Classics before them, are modular.

    Comfort is another strength of the 99 Neo. All of it's qualities come together to be something wonderful. The rounded design, spacious ear cups, and the floating pivot design that lets the ear cups swivel and twist to spread what little weight there is evenly across the skull and around your ears. Some headphones create pressure points around the ear that gets extremely uncomfortable after a while. Not a problem here. If you enjoy binging on Netflix shows or listening to albums from to back, the 99 Neo is a good headphone to keep you company.

    When it comes to passively blocking out external noise, the 99 Neo is just okay. Without any music playing, outside sounds are still audible but lose definition and become muffled. You could still hold a conversation with someone while wearing the 99 Neo, but you'll struggle to understand what they're saying. Turn on your music, and as expected things improve. You'll likely still need to increase the volume a bit to compensate if in a particularly noisy area, but otherwise they're nice to use out in the world.

    Overall, the 99 Neo is a beautiful headphone with outstanding build quality and decent passive isolation. My only qualm is aimed at the spring steel headband which if tapped lets off a ringing noise that easily penetrates your music. I don't recall this being an issue on the 99 Classics. Then again, those were a tour unit and were only used when stationary, so the opportunity to experience that issue never really arose.

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    Pads: In addition to the stock pads, I gave the 99 Neo a go with Brianwavz's Hybrid PU/Velour pads, as well as their full Velour pads. To my surprise, the Velour pads turned the 99 Neo into a complete bass cannon, the opposite of what I usually experience with that style of pad. It also closed in the sound somewhat, taking away the 'impressive for a closed back' airness the 99 Neo displays with the stock pads. The hybrid PU/Velour pads were the most balanced of the three as it toned down the 99 Neo's mid-bass, gave the treble more voice and sparkle, and improved the sound stage further. I quite liked this combination and would recommend giving these pads a try. They're also slightly larger and deeper than the stock pads and help make the 99 Neo even more comfortable.

    Back in February of 2016 when I was given the chance to review the 99 Classics, they were the highest end headphones I had a chance to spend any significant amount of time with. Prior to that, the AKG K553 Pro I picked up from Massdrop held that distinction. The 99 Classics sounded similar to me, but addressed some of the shortcomings of the K553s, namely bass extension and treble peaks. The seven short days spent with the 99 Classics certainly made their mark as a benchmark product for me.

    The 99 Neo shares qualities with the Classics but is a warmer, bassier experience and overall has a slightly darker tone that carries it pretty far from the sound of the K553 Pro. Treble extends well with good sparkle but is de-emphasized and rolls off at the top. This gives the 99 Neo a very easygoing, smooth quality to it that makes long term listening sessions a reality. On Steely Dan's “Cuervo Gold”, cymbals hit with a soft, airy 'tsst' but remain detailed and well-textured. Notes are well-defined with a tuned weight that keeps the 99 Neo from sounding lean, yet the amount of air and space between instruments and effects remains open and layered. The effect is the same in the opening moments on King Crimson's live rendition of “Night Watch” from The Great Deceiver with chimes continuously tinkling away in the background behind swelling cymbals. Despite being so laid back, the 99 Neo's treble presentation is pretty phenomenal, though I can definitely see some wanting more emphasis.

    The mid-range is slightly recessed but is thick and full bodied in a way that gives vocals a silky smooth, yet still quite crisp and detailed presentation. I really like how natural everything sounds too, from the out-of-tune violin playing in the opening of Aesop Rock's “Big Bang”, to the intense guitar solo of Funkadelic's “Maggot Brain”. “Big Bang” also shows how nimble these drivers can be, handling Aesop's uncharacteristically speedy delivery with ease. Don't worry, the 99 Neo remains clear and articulate even with true speedsters like K.A.A.N. on “Still (pro. Cashflow)”. It's a really liquid sounding mid-range that flows exceptionally well and in my opinion, really ties together the 99 Neo's sound.

    Bass on this earphone is elevated with a mid and upper focus giving the low presentation a very lush feel to it. Extension is good but there is some roll-off present before dipping into those truly visceral regions, as evidenced in the opening moment's of Kavinski's “Solli”. While texturing is good, it's slightly loose and can show bloom on tracks that are already mid-bass skewed, like Infected Mushroom's “Drum n Baasa”. At times the 99 Neo's low end can be slightly overwhelming, though you can lessen it a couple dB by pushing the headphone forward over your ear. Want to maximize the low end, push it back so your ear sits at the front of the cup. Well, that worked for me. Your experience may differ. Alternatively, if you aren't opposed to EQ the 99 Neo is receptive to alterations. For example, with my Shanling M1 I dropped 1dB at 62, 3dB at 125, 2dB at 250 and 1dB at 500. This gave the sub-bass a touch more presence, removed the bloom, and improved clarity in the mids by making them a touch more lean.

    When it comes to sound stage I found the 99 Neo quite open and spacious for a closed back set of headphones, with excellent layering and separation. Imaging from channel to channel is clear and direct, but can be vague when it comes to finer movements. Something like the thinksound On2 shows greater precision in those instances. Love it for movies and music, but not as amazing for something requiring pinpoint accuracy, like gaming.

    Overall, the 99 Neo is an entertaining set of headphones with a warm, easygoing signature. I really enjoyed it with classic rock and modern pop and EDM where it's smooth presentation truly shined. It was also a joy with vocal focused music since there was zero sibilance I could detect.

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    Select Comparisons: All were used with their stock pads

    Polk Audio Buckle: The 99 Neo and Buckle have very similar signatures. I'd say the 99 Neo is a direct upgrade though, given on a technical level it is so much better. The 99 Neo's bass for one. It is more articulate and textured with a much more dynamic range. The Buckle comes across very one-note in comparison. The mids on the Neo are slightly more forward and lack the veil of the Buckle, letting fine details shine through that the Buckle masks. Treble in the Neo is slightly more emphasized, shows greater space between instruments, and shows more shimmer in cymbals which have a certain dullness to them through the Buckle.

    When it comes to build, the Buckle feels rock solid though it's not a looker and single-sized 2.5mm connector is a clear weak point. The mix of leather and aluminum is representative of the premium price they commanded back in the day. Comfort is good, but the hefty weight isn't spread out quite as well as it could. The 99 Neo is definitely the more comfortable of the two, though passive isolation is better on the Buckle and it's a little more compact and therefore better on the go. Neither fold up or lay flat though.

    A-Audio Legacy: My Legacy was a blind buy on Amazon, one I have been thrilled with. It's audio performance greatly exceed my expectations given it has such a loud and boisterous design, clearly aimed at those more worried about style than function. Since it has active noise canceling the alters the signature greatly, this comparison will be with ANC off.

    The most notable difference between the two, one that is instantly apparently the second music starts playing, is sound stage. The Legacy is significantly more closed in and intimate, completely lacking the airiness of the 99 Neo. While it's presentation isn't as layered, the Legacy does present more nuanced imaging and separates instruments nearly as well. The 99 Neo has a more forward bass, but the Legacy extends deeper to provide a more visceral feel with slightly improved texture. The 99 Neo's mids are thicker and more detailed with a more natural timbre. Treble on the Legacy has more shimmer and emphasis with similar extension and clarity.

    In terms of build and comfort, I'd take the 99 Neo all day, every day. I love the Legacy's design and the fit and finish is excellent, but it's hard to call them attractive. Interesting is more appropriate. The use of heavy metals and a tight clamping force limits comfort long term, as do the pads which warmed up more and in a shorter period than Meze's offering. In the Legacy's favour, they do fold and the cups swivel up to make them more compact. Plus, they passively isolate much more effectively.

    Campfire Audio Cascade: The Cascade is Campfire Audio's first headphone. It's a lot more expensive than the 99 Neo and maybe not a fair comparison, but it's always nice to see just how well something competes with more expensive gear.

    Like the 99 Neo it has a bass-forward signature, but to my surprise came across a bit more balanced. Note that I'm running mine without any of the acoustic filters in place. The Cascade's bass has a better mid-/sub-bass balance with greater extension. It's slightly quicker with a fair bit more control in the mid-bass than the 99 Neo, and as such is completely absent of the bloom and looseness the Neo can display at times. The Cascade's midrange is leaner and more articulate with even more detail.Vocalists sit further back in the mix too, giving a more spacious feel to your music. I personally prefer the 99 Neo's extra warmth and silkiness. I just wish it has the same clarity as the Cascade. The Cascade's treble seems a bit colder and more prominent, while also being sharper and more accurate. At the same volume, it's more fatiguing than the 99 Neo, though I wouldn't call either of these fatiguing.

    While the Cascade seems like it's bulletproof, I have some concerns. The arms holding the cups on are aluminum and one was bent slightly out of the box. The headphone is quite heavy so if dropped, I would expect some damage. The Neo is much, much lighter and yet feels more resilient. It also has the benefit of being user repairable, unlike the Cascade. The Cascade's pads are real leather and it shows. They feel much more premium and are magnetically attached. Another plus over the Neo's pads.

    Final Thoughts:

    Finding a headphone that ticks all the right boxes is a challenge. Maybe they sound amazing but look horrendous. Maybe they're drop dead gorgeous but fail to impress in any regard when it comes to their sonic performance. Maybe they've got everything going for them, but are fragile. Maybe the cost of entry is astronomical. Where does the 99 Neo fall?

    At around 250 USD they're affordable. The materials used are durable and put together perfectly, though the steel headband can be noisy. Comfort is second to none, really. These are amazing to wear. The sound, while on the bassy side, is well-tuned with strong technical performance. There are very few headphones that I've come across that do so much right and so little wrong. Someone that's looking to step up their headphone game without spending a bundle would do very well to start with the 99 Neo.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)
    Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (Album)
    Elton John - Yellow Golden Brick Road (Album)
    King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians (Album)
    Infected Mushroom - Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz - Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack - Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac - Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco - F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone) (Album)
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  3. Johnny Mac
    Meze 99 Neo, new yet lasting.
    Written by Johnny Mac
    Published Oct 13, 2018
    Pros - Superb build quality, looks gorgeous, balanced sound.
    Cons - Non-foldable, earpad outline for earpad rolling could be better.

    Hot off my rendezvous with the Meze Audio 11 Neo, the exquisite house of Meze in Romania has managed to delight me with another guest and although I am yet to be a full-on convert for the cult following surrounding how Meze has managed to be a company associated with meticulous standards both in form and function. I am yet put again tempted by them to try and prove such standards do exist with their interpretation of what a headphone should look and sound in the form of the Meze 99 Neo. Provided directly by Meze Audio in exchange for an honest realview. You can visit their castle, I mean website at Meze Audio. The Meze 99 Neo, released in 2017 and is priced at $249, it sits smack on a headphone market swarming with audiophile grade options. The Meze 99 Neo Headphones houses a 40mm dynamic transducers on a black ABS plastic earcups, 15Hz - 25 KHz Frequency Response, 103dB Sensitivity, 26 Ohm Impedance. The 99 Neo features detachable Kevlar OFC cable which bodes well for those worried of cable breakage as well as an in-house subdued yet contemporary design conceptualized over long hours of sketches and outlines and with all these specifications, is the Meze Audio 99 Neo worthy of a fan base?

    Packaging and Build Quality





    The Meze 99 Neo barged in into my office sporting its packaging with shades of 2-tone grayscale. All the necessary details and information about the headphones is stated with 3 images of the 99 Neo all highlighting its detailed construction, do note that the back of the package has a security hologram on the lower left portion to guarantee authenticity of the 99 Neo which as they say, it’s all in the details. Opening up the box greeted me with an admirable and sexy black case contoured to the curves of the 99 Neo, the zipper zips smoothly and hanging tab is also present as well as a metal chrome and black Meze logo which I would love to have as a pin to stick on my work backpack. A brochure is also present along with all their current line-up of headphones and earphones and company details which was good for light reading. Inside the box was the 99 Neo’s themselves, comfortably resting on the smooth suede lining interiors of the case. A storage pouch was also present along which contained the detachable Kevlar OFC cable, 6.3mm gold-plated jack and an airline adapter. I tried storing the 99 Neo with cables attached on the case and sadly, it doesn’t work so the case is clearly for portable usage and not for storing it when used at home, I’d recommend getting a dedicated headphone stand because the 99 Neo is damn sensual to look at.



    The 99 Neo isn’t foldable in any way which was fine since it has a gorgeous case to begin with, trade-offs my lads. It uses ABS plastic for its earcups which had leather-like grooves and is isn’t a fingerprint magnet, it is sturdy and the cable ports as well as the earcup outline is lined with electroplated precision die-cast zinc alloy, I have seen how this electroplating process takes place and believe me, the 99 Neo metal components won’t be rusting anytime soon. The headband is a chromium-manganese alloy which is if you’re familiar with your alloys, this specific combination provides improved strength and ductility for the times your 99 Neo meets your bad days and so far, none of my bad days have broken the 99 Neo. The support system of the 99 Neo utilized a self-adjusting PU leather headband with 99 Neo embedded on the top portion joined underneath by an elastic rubber garter attached to a thin strip of metal which terminates on a striking zinc alloy(also electroplated) joint for the 2-piece headbands.



    The earpads uses soft PU leather with medium density memory foam. It is soft and non-irritating to wear and use, I managed to pull off around 3-4 hours of use on it, the clamping force of the headbands is also cozy, I have a relatively small head so the clamping force might be strong for others, depends really. I’m also glad that the Yaxi earpads that I have lying around did fit the 99 Neo and will state the differences in the sound analysis portion of the realview while so far the comfort was relatively similar except that the Yaxi earpads on the 99 Neo gave a encased feeling since it has larger chamber circumference as well as the velour part gave a more movable feel for the earcups.


    Changing the earpads on the 99 Neo is easy and doesn’t involve any proprietary molds which I have seen on other headphones making earpads changing a pain. The included detachable Kevlar OFC cable isn’t stiff nor too pliable, it has the right amount of tension to it allowing it easy to store while also being hefty enough to stay in place and not wiggle around when used on the go. All of the cables metal components are machined aluminum with gold-plated plugs. The included mic controls worked flawlessly on both Android and iOS devices as well as the mic itself, the y-split has subtle 99 Neo branding and compliments the headphone aesthetics well. It is slightly microphonic yet unnoticeable most of the time. The overall build of the 99 Neo is indeed a work of art both made for work and art, no clanking and rattling here and there and the design language flows fluidly from each component to another.


    Upon using the Meze 99 Neo’s, a sense of lax atmosphere envelops the user. Despite switching from multiple sources ranging from the Opus 1, Sony ZX1, Xduoo X3ii, Sony CAS-1 via an MSI laptop and also direct from the said laptop and the OnePlus 3T, the 99 Neo sound was evidently a non-overdoing set of cans, it delivers a smooth and easy sound which leans on the warmer spectrum. I have used it extensively and haven’t found any singular frequency that distinctly outshines any other aside from the low-end giving a more resonating vibe that ever so slightly extends to the midrange.


    Having said that the 99 Neo being a set of warm sounding cans, its low-end performance doesn’t overpower the other frequencies in a manner of great extent. Kicking in Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams in 16/44 Flac showcases its good bass attack capabilities, sub bass drops had good body to it and decays on a slower pace which was surprisingly wasn’t congesting even on consecutive sub bass drops. The bass performance was clean and reverbs effortlessly providing an added zest on the lower frequencies which resulted on its easy sounding warm signature.


    The 99 Neo’s midrange gives it its strong coherent performance, transitional notes in the lower and upper midrange weaves through the spectrum smoothly. Angela Bofill’s Angel of the Night in 16/44 Flac had good dynamics on them and the female vocals had distinct clarity on them and had good definition which compliments the bass hits well. Vocal timber sounds a tad colored but doesn’t reach unnatural levels. Trying out the male vocals was done with Scorpion’s Wind of Change in 16/44 Flac, upper midrange performance was clear and detailed even showcasing sporadic extension abilities while the male vocals still sounded a tad colored but had more air to it which was extensively highlighted near the 3:33 minute mark.


    I decided to pull out Jerry Cortez’s Around the Globe in 16/44 Flac to focus on checking out the 99 Neo’s higher frequency abilities. There is noticeable lack of bite on this set of cans although it is still able to deliver a lively and musical vibe on the signature. The lack of bite also showed supplemented the fact that the 99 Neo’s doesn’t induce harsh and piercing highs instead gives out a totally non-fatiguing experience.

    Soundstage and Imaging

    Spandau Ballet’s Code of Love in 16/44 Flac was used to test out the soundstage and imaging which right off the bat gave out a rather intimate feel, studio-like. Imaging was distinct and easy to identify. There is great sense of left to right orientation especially when instrumental hits are made. Detail retrieval is on point. Those who put a premium on a very wide soundstage would need to look elsewhere.

    Yaxi Pads on the 99 Neo’s


    I was fortunate enough to have the Yaxi Pads for the CD900st’s lying around and from all the other earpads I had the fit the CD900st, it was surprising that only the Yaxi’s managed to fit the 99 Neo. This was all because of the 99 Neo’s very slim earpad lining outline which all the other earpads didn’t managed to fit in, the leather on those were too thick so note that when you are looking forward to trying 3rd party earpads for the 99 Neo’s. The noticeable differences between the stock 99 Neo earpads and the Yaxi’s were the circumference size. The Yaxi’s had a much larger circumference and also had deeper earpad depth giving more area for your ears and the 99 Neo drivers themselves although the cloth lining had the same thickness on both earpads. Sound changes were minimal with the Yaxi giving out more air and soundstage than the stock one’s yet also taking the highs down which wasn’t a good thing. I ended using the stock earpads until now.



    There is much to be said for the Meze 99 Neo just from its build quality alone which is unusual for a company who is fairly new to the game. The accessory set checks all the right boxes not to mention the sophistication poured on them. The sound needs no getting used to as it sits right home with it’s easy to love appeal, one not focused on getting critical and clinical with technicalities. Viewing the 99 Neo at $249 on an audiophile perspective familiar with his options wouldn’t entice one much except for the fact that this set of cans would possibly last a long time even with constant use, a result stemming from the confidence you can get just when using it 1st hand which suits its name, 99 Neo, a sign that something new can feel lasting.

    More reviews on my site, http://audiorealviews.site/
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  4. My Little Phony
    Promising start into the headphone business
    Written by My Little Phony
    Published Aug 15, 2018
    Pros - - lightweight
    - attractive appearance
    - good soundquality
    - non-fatiguing sound presentation for long listening sessions
    Cons - - bass a bit loose
    - crackling memory foam
    - earpads not comfortable with every earsize
    Unboxing / Inside the box:

    The headphone comes in a sturdy carton box wrapped into transparent foil. One side of the box is closed by two magnets and it nicely folds open.

    Now something i have to mention because of my experience with another headphone. The new box & headphone fragrance. The new scent your nose will notice after opening the box the first time is there but vanishes quickly.

    Next you will see a well made pouch containing the headphone itself and the cable. It is a very solid case you can use for save transportation and storage of your headphone and cable and some other small accessories. The pouch can easily be opened and closed using the two smooth running zippers.

    In the middle of the pouch, there is a round shaped small pouch hosting the detachable headphone cable and two adapters. The headphone cable is nicely braided with a soft kevlar thread beginning from the 3.5mm TRRS connector going up to the y-splitter of the cable. Outgoing from the cable-splitter the two cables for (L)eft and (R)ight are now covered by soft rubber. Between the splitter and the headphone-plugs there is also a remote with a play/pause function for mobile devices and a build in mic. I really like the slim and well done connectors of the headphone cable. They fit very well. Small thing but worth to mention.

    Cable length including connectors is close to 1,45 m. Plugs of the cable are marked L & R.

    You will not receive much microphonics while scratching the kevlar braided part of the cable with your fingers and the microphonics when touching the upper rubber part of the cable are also more than acceptable.

    Enclosed to the small pouch you will get a 3.5 mm to 6.4 mm adapter and an aeroplane adapter.

    Optics & Build Quality:

    After opening the carrying pouch i just said „Wow“. Its black and beautiful and there is metal and screws. The Meze Neo just looks desirable in the box. Lets get it out of the box to throw an eye on the details.

    Grabbing the cans out of the pouch you will notice how light they are. These phones are showing quality and provide good haptic out of the box. The metal detailes and screws are giving the phones a very reliable touch.

    *** Important Note: The headphone is fully servicable in the case any part has to be replaced. ***

    Wearing & Comfort:

    Lets put the cans on and feel them. But first i have to find out whats the (L)eft and whats the (R)ight earcup. After a couple of minutes i still didn't get it and just plugged in the headphone-cable and played a left and right channel test file. Theres no marking for the (L)eft and (R)ight channel on the headphone.

    The 99 NEO is a very lightweight headphone at 260gr.

    Earcup size may not fit the larger kinds of ears. I think my ears are about average. After about an hour of wearing the NEOs i felt the earpads pressing unpleasantly against the lower part of my ears. Nevertheless they felt comfortable to wear at first.

    The fit of the headphone is self-adjusting and similar to the one used on the Philips Fidelio X2. The clamping force of the headband is ok but a bit too soft for my taste.

    If you make funny faces you wont hear any sound coming from the headphone-structure. Only if you nod your head heavily you can hear the headband doing spongy sounds while readjusting. You wont hear it while listening to music at all but i definitely prefer a step by step clickable headphone adjustment without elastic bands.

    Overall comfort while wearing the phones it really good. Probably the headphones are wearable for hours without getting annoying if you dont have big ears.

    The pleather earpads and inner memory foam are soft and comfy. But the foam material Meze is using for the cutions of the earpads is not a good choice. It makes a light crackling sound when you move your head. I first thought it was some kind of distortion noise (like rustling foil) coming from my player.



    - Lake People G100 FE (technically close to Violectric HPA V100)
    - JDSL Labs Dac
    - Astell & Kern AK70 MK II
    - Flac & MP3 files


    Detailed and not harsh or fatiguing. Not thin or edgy sounding. Highs and Mids play well together.


    The mids have a good body while being detailed.


    The bass is elevated. I tested the bass of a Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 32 ohm these days too. That was a no-go experience. Boomy and overshadowing the other frequencies. The bass of the Neo 99 does not bleed too much into the mids and highs. Its a warm presentation. Sometimes it can be a bit too soft and lose sounding. But i found this to be rare. Layered presentation is there but sometimes gets lost a bit.


    Soundstage is good. I could easily hear where the sound of an instrument is coming from.

    3d-effekt / Spaciness:

    Music tends to sound more 2D than 3D. Average spaciness presentation. I havent heared a closed headphone yet that takes you into mindblowing wide spacious landscapes. The NEO performs good here.


    Voices are pleasant to the ears and non-fatiguing or thin sounding. High female voices dont let your ears bleed.

    Overall presentation:

    Non-fatiguing and warm presentation that is predestinated for long listening sessions. High, mid and lower frequencies complement each other well but for my taste the sound could use a bit more refinement of the presented frequencies. I red that there are differences between the classic and the NEO model of the Meze 99.

    Support Impressions:

    Friendly, helpful and quick answering customer service. I think good support is very important and also a part of the produkt.


    The Neo 99 is a good looking and well crafted headphone. You can easily say its a piece of art.

    The fact that its fully servicable is a great thing. The cans are made for long not fatiguing listening sessions. Comfortable and lightweight headphones for people with small ears.

    Being realistic and keeping the price range in mind the sound presentation is good. Let your ears decide.

    But for me the NEO is missing some of the magic that makes me foot-tapping and enjoying every part of the music plus i always hear the crackling memory foam of the earcups when theres no sound playing. For the next cans Meze should consider using other foam.

    In another review someone said:“ I really wanted to love these headphones...“ but they're just not for me. I second this and have to say that I expected more. But i know that Meze got new hardware in progress and maybe there will be something for me in the future.

    The Meze 99 series are good debut headphones doing many things right but also some things wrong. If the next models get refinement we will get really awesome headphones.


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  5. Squeaky Duck
    Well made headphones with good sound & good value
    Written by Squeaky Duck
    Published Jan 14, 2018
    Pros - VERY efficient
    Left cable connector marked for easy ID
    Comfortable for extended listening time
    Complete with everything you need for home or on-the-go use
    Cons - Heavy mid-bass
    by Tom Lewis
    aka Squeaky Duck
    13 Jan 2018

    Recently I had the pleasure of being included in a worldwide tour posted here on Head-fi.org of the Meze Audio 99 Neo headphones. This is my personal opinion of these headphones.

    Disclaimer - I am by no means an audio professional. I am an audio enthusiast & hobbyist who likes to tinker, so this is my experience with the NEO 99 headphones pertaining to their sound quality, comfort, price and construction merits. My regularly used headphones are the KRK KNS-8400.

    The music I had chosen is what I am very familiar with and have had the pleasure of actually listening to live. My personal preference is jazz, 80's rock, classical, and some opera.

    My primary sound source is a digital audio workstation with Samplitude 2496 Recording & Editing Suite and VU Player running through an ASUS Xonar DS DTS sound card locked at 24bit/192k 2ch with Burr Brown op-amps, Monster interlink II cable feeding my Kenwood KA-5700 integrated amplifier. All of my electronics are powered from a 1kW APC Smart UPS which has good AC power filtering, and yes, it does make a difference and the noise floor is exceptionally low. All of my digital sourced music used here is FLAC or uncompressed PCM format.

    The Meze 99 Neo showed up in a nice storage box detailing some of the headphone's specs and features. Inside was a felt lined ballistic nylon hard case that provided excellent protection to what was inside, something many headphones should include but do not. I would love to get a case like this for my KRK headphones too. Nestled inside was a small round soft case with the full length 10 foot cable, a 4.5 foot cable with microphone for your smart phone, 1/4 inch adapter and an airline adapter. All bases covered here for use pretty much anywhere.

    Looking them over I was impressed with the attention to detail in the build quality. The main part of the headband is all black spring steel with silver colored die cast zinc mounts for the adjustable padded comfort band. The ear cups are ABS which seem inert and the ear pads are soft leather which was a nice touch and reflect the quality & workmanship. The cable connected to each ear with a 1/8 inch plug on the bottom of each ear. I liked this since it made it easy to store them and if your cables were to get damaged it would be a simple swap for new ones. The left plug has a ring crimped into the shell to identify it from the right. The headphone cable itself is wrapped in Kevlar weave to protect the wire and the connectors are metal, not cheap molded plastic.

    Meze Audio did their homework on the fit and comfort of these headphones. The ear cups are attached to the band to allow them to fit comfortably and secure without the proverbial "C-clamp" feel. The soft leather ear pads provided a good seal around the ears without the sweaty feel other leather pads may have. Their softness allowed me to wear my glasses with minimal discomfort. As for weight, they are very light, weighing in at only 9 ounces. I felt no big addition of weight even of an hour or two of use each night. The Kevlar jacket on the cable reduced the typical headphone microphonic rumble from moving around which is very good.

    Now as for the sound, this is subjective and merely what my impressions of this set can do.

    The mids and highs were smooth and balanced. vocals have a fairly neutral sound. The bass was more than I expected. These headphones will go as low as human hearing will allow, but with a pronounced hump in the mid-bass region that on some of my older recordings was a blessing, yet on well recorded music it was admittedly annoying and a bit muddy. I played around with the equalizer a bit to smooth it out which made a huge difference in long term listening. The settings I used were:
    80Hz, -3dB
    150Hz, -4.5dB
    300 Hz, -3.5dB
    Filter Q 1.4

    99 NEO Specifications
    Transducer size: 40mm
    Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance: 26 Ohm
    Rated input power: 30mW
    Maximum input power: 50mW
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug: 3.5mm gold plated
    Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    Ear-cups: ABS Plastic

    Audio Playlist:
    Dawn Upshaw - World So Wide
    Lee Ritenour - 6 String Theory
    Michael Murray - Bach - Great Organ at Methuen
    Victims Family - Voltage and Violets
    Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab - The Power and the Majesty
    Tappi Tíkarrass - Miranda (vinyl)


    Listening Impressions

    Dawn Upshaw's - World So Wide
    This album was a good test of female vocals as Dawn's vocal range can and does reveal breakup on a lot of headsets & speakers making her sound a bit screechy if there is any breakup happening. In this case vocals came through in full detail with no detectable screechiness or sibilance. The vocals sounded neutral. Strings, woodwind instruments and percussion were well defined and clean. The only oddity I heard sticking out was tympani drums sounds a bit bloated despite the EQ curve I listed in this review.

    Lee Ritenour - 6 String Theory
    This had a nice warm sound listening to 16-year-old Canadian classical guitarist Shon Boublil playing two caprices by 19th Century Italian guitarist/ composer Luigi Legnani. You can hear him breathing and his sleeve moving on the nylon strings of his Martin Blackwell Classical guitar. What was interesting is being able to audibly judge how his fingers were sliding across the guitar frets as he played. The sound is clear with no harshness and the guitar's natural wood sound comes through.

    Michael Murray - Bach - The Great Organ at Methuen Memorial Music Hall
    If you like pipe organ music Michael Murray is an exceptional organist to listen to. Bach's Tocatta in F Major (BVW 540) played on the great organ at Methuen Memorial Music Hall in Methuen, Massachusetts. This used to be one of the largest organs in the world with 6,088 pipes and 84 registers. The biggest one I know of is the Fratelli Rufatti organ in the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco with 9,235 pipes and 147 registers. WOW. If you live in or near San Francisco GO SEE AND HEAR IT. Anyway, without the EQ curve used, the sound was heavy and there was loss of detail throughout. With the EQ curve, you can hear a lot of low end detail and the acoustics of the hall clearly. Listening to Passacaglia & Fugue in C Minor (BVW 582) you can hear just how BIG this organ truly is (and you can hear the mechanics of the valves working in the background if are listening closely for it).

    Victims Family - Voltage and Violets
    Quivering Lip is a tune making fun of movie plots. The recording is very clear on all vocals and the NEOs played them nicely and the sound was actually neutral. You can tell it was recorded in a basement. Son of Church is a snappy and well recorded instrumental. The drums came through with good percussion and were really snappy with punch. When I lived in California they performed often at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma. They are hardcore punk but a lot of fun to listen to.

    Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab - The Power and the Majesty
    Just for fun, I tried Mobile Fidelity's Thunderstorm on CD. The thunder sounded pretty damn real on the NEOs with the volume up. Just listening to the raindrops, wind and water running made me feel cold and wet. That's convincing sound.

    Tappi Tíkarrass - Miranda (vinyl)
    The recording on vinyl is very good but Björk has a natural edginess to her sound on this album. On lesser headphones Skrið has a hard sound that is not enjoyable. Listening to it on the NEOs without the EQ curve was actually good and very listenable. Drek-Lek and Beri Beri had a good sound stage on the NEOs. Vocals were good. Get Ekki Sofið had ambience with a large sound stage. With the EQ curve in play the vocals became more alive with a more defined sound stage which was very apparent with the drums. I've always liked listening to Björk Guðmundsdóttir. She has a unique sound and style to her music. When she was in San Francisco I saw her performance on the stage at pier 32 (great show). Tappi Tíkarrass was her first band in 1983.

    Lastly I tried them out on my Sonim XP5 smart phone with the same music. Now this is where these headphones really shine. Their inherent pronounced mid-bass characteristics and faint drop in the upper mid-band actually made for a really fun time listening to these and made up for the shortcomings of my phone's audio electronics. The sound was very well balanced and quite smooth with no equalization needed at all. I think I found a new add-on to buy for my smart phone here.

    Overall, I like them. The build quality is there. The included accessories and hard shell case complete the ensemble well. The fact you can change out cables and use them with your cell phone to listen AND talk is a plus. Yes, they have a definite sound signature of their own, but on a lot of music they do the job well. If you are into critical monitoring for recording these are not headphones to get (that's what my KRK's are for). But for general listening at home they do the job well. They are very efficient which is good for portable electronics giving you more run time on batteries.

    Overall at $249 a set I think they are a good deal.

    In a nutshell, these are a good set of headphones I'd like to own for my portable electronics.
      MezeTeam likes this.
  6. Howlin Fester
    Meze 99 Neo by Howlin’ Fester Everything you want.
    Written by Howlin Fester
    Published Dec 5, 2017
    Pros - Great bass sound.
    So much fun.
    Cons - Loses some details in extremely intricate music
    Cable is too long for me
    They are just a review pair. I don't own them yet.
    Meze 99 Neo by Howlin’ Fester
    Everything you want.

    When Meze launched the 99 Classics, I remember seeing the banner on Head-Fi. The beautiful wood cups and closed back immediately caught my eye. I wanted to check out and see who was producing those beautiful headphones. I’ve been following Meze since that first banner flash, and now I finally get to try out one of the Meze products. I am lucky enough to be selected as part of the Meze Neo tour. It has been a long time coming, but I finally received the 99 Neo from @Jinxy245 the week before Thanksgiving. In short order, I opened the box and threw some music at them.

    Gear and First Impressions:
    Rig of choice is 16/44 FLAC from Cayin N3>USB out>RSA Intruder-medium gain. As soon as I got the Neo, I fell asleep to Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy a Thrill album. Not going to say too much about that since it was first impression, and I fell asleep within 4 or 5 songs. But the initial impression was very positive. Meze are great looking headphones. They are not heavy, they fit well, and I was able to lay down without them being pushed around by the pillow.

    Physical attributes:
    The feel and fit of the Meze 99 Neo are perfect for me. The circum-aural aspect of the ear pads fit around my ears like a glove. I feel like the clamping force is spot on, and I like the isolation of the cups. With respect to headphones, I guess that I am huge fan of closed back headphones. I have Fostex Th-900, Audeze LCD-XC, Senheiser Momentum V1. With that being said, I really love how the 99 Neo fit and feel.

    The ONLY thing that I am not fond of is the length of the headphone cable. I prefer a mid-length cable of around 4.5 feet. But that is just a niggle, now isn’t it? If I bought the 99 Neo or the 99 Classics, I would either shorten the cable, or buy a replacement cable that is shorter. Otherwise, I do like the cable. Below the Y-split, it is cloth covered and above the Y-split it is rubber. Neither sections of the cable experiences much microphonics, and rolling it up for transportation, doesn’t really induce memory kinks. I don’t use cables with remotes, so I won’t comment on that.

    Edit: 01.29.2018
    With regards to the cables: The Meze 99 Neo only comes with the shorter/microphone cable in the box. The review pair traveled with the shorter/mic cable AND the long/standard/NO-mic cable. The long/standard/NO-mic cable can be purchased separately for $20.


    Over the next few days, I just listened to them while working. I ran through most of the Beatles later works. White Album, Let it Be, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper’s. I wasn’t doing any critical listening, but one of the things that really struck me was how deep, rich, and full the Meze 99 Neo made the Beatles sound. They were really astounding on these older recordings (new remasters). But mostly I just worked and occasionally, I would need to pause, look out the window and listen to part of a song. I think this was the first time I was really able to “hear” Paul’s bass lines. Ringo’s drums were clearly presented, and other percussion instruments were clearly represented. While writing this, I had to pause and listen to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Very nice.

    The Meze 99 Neo seem to be easy to drive. I powered them with the Ray Samuels Audio Intruder amp. On medium gain, I only need about 1/4 of the power or less. This gives me great listening level with good impact, but not being loud. That is one of the things that I tend to find with other headphones, is that I want to turn them up to get the bass impact and slam. I really feel that the 99 Neo do that more safely.

    Musings on Two Beatles Songs and Four Headphones:
    OMG! Listening to the Beatles song “When I’m 64” is a revelation. Such fun bass lines and bass presence without overpowering the rest of the song. Switching over to the THX-900, I feel like I’m getting a more clinical representation of the song. I had to turn the volume up with the THX-900 to get the same kind of fun impact of the 99 Neo. One thing I did notice about the 99 Neo and the old Beatles stuff is that the L-R balance is more distracting and sharp. Meaning that vocals in the right are extremely panned right, etc. With the THX-900, they are more cross centered. This could be a function of the THX-900 being “semi-closed”. While listening to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” on the THX-900, I can definitely hear the bass lines, but is like I have to work harder to find it. The Meze 99 Neo smacks you with it.

    Switching over to LCD-XC, you are immediately hit with the weight. (If anyone ever talks to you about the LCD-XC, it goes something like this… “LCD-XC, huh?” “Yup.” “How heavy are those things?” “Heavy. Oh, so heavy.” “OK. How do they sound?” “Sound great. But man are they heavy.” Anyway, I digress.) Listening to When I’m 64 and Lucy Diamonds, the LCD-XC really present the Beatles well. There is bass heft, and feel. But still find myself reaching for the volume to keep turning them up. The bassline in the chorus of Lucy in the Sky sounds glorious. But at a volume price.

    Trying the Senheiser Momentum (Version 1). When I’m 64 sounds evenly presented and kind of boring. I don’t get that OMG moment that I got with the Neo 99. If I turn them up, I can force myself to have more fun with the increased volume. Definitely good headphones for travelling, but I very rarely reach for the Momentums

    If I had to rank the headphones for these two Beatles songs, it would look like this: 1. LCD-XC (but had to really turn it up). 2. 99 Neo (just represented the songs in a “FUN” way on a lower volume.) 3. THX-900. Great sound across the board, but missing the “FUN” factor on the Beatles songs. (AND I LOVE MY TH-900). 4. Momentum. Just average.

    Well, the Beatles aren’t my normal evaluation songs, so I should move on to my evaluation music. However, this first half of the review, I am really impressed with the Meze 99 Neo. Putting the Meze back on after testing the Fostex, Audeze, and Sennheiser, the meze really wins for comfort. Let’s do a comfort ranking. 1. Meze 99 Neo. 2. THX-900 (but I would like a little bit tighter clamping). 3. LCD-XC. Comfortable around the ears, but did I mention they are heavy? 4. Momentum. Tight clamping, tight on the ears. Didn’t really bother me, but when I took them off, I was glad they were off.

    I also have to mention that the Meze 99 Neo are comfortable with glasses. I’m old and I wear reading glasses and computer distance glasses. My spectacles fit just fine under the Meze pads. I don’t feel pressure on the arms/temples.

    Song evaluations:
    Steely Dan - Do it again. This is probably the song I listen to the most when evaluating music. With the 99 Neo, I’m able to hear everything clearly and well presented. There are high hat rides and cabassa throughout the song. I can hear those high frequency instruments clearly and distinctly while getting a good bass thump.

    Porcupine Tree - Hatesong. This is one I’ve really been looking forward to hearing. It naturally has a deep drumming bass line. That was represented well. But the Tom drums after the 6:00 minute mark are where the Meze 99 Neo really shine.

    Fleetwood Mac – Dreams. Soundstage. The Meze 99 Neo don’t have the widest soundstage. When I’m listening to Dreams, the background vocals and acoustic guitar seem a little closer with the Neo than with other headphones and iem I have tried.

    Kansas – Miracles Out of Nowhere. I grew up listening to Kansas on my stereo in my bedroom, and through old Realistic – White – Plastic – Closed back headphones. This takes me back to my childhood. Hearing all of the individual instruments in the band playing off of each other in different locations of the headphone is a real joy.

    Santa Esmeralda – Don’t Let me Be Misunderstood. The definition of a smile. When the song starts off with hand claps, stomping, congas, drums, then the acoustic guitar strums in. Followed by a flamenco solo. This just made me smile very much. Definitely check this out if you have the chance.

    Tool – The Pot. Thought I would throw some recently recorded music at the Neo. This Tool song has lots of bass and guitar. They all seem to blur together. On most tool songs, it is hard to get a distinction between Maynard’s voice, and the other instruments. This follows suit here with the Neo. If I change out the Neo for my Trinity Audio Hunter iem – gunmetal filters & silver litz cable, I can differentiate all the instruments separately and clearly hear Maynard’s voice. Tried the same thing with the TH-900, and the TH-900 can clearly separate all the instruments. Fun factor on this Tool song has to go to the Fostex over the Meze Neo.

    Fleetwood – Rumours album. Moving from Tool over to the Fleetwood Mac, I think this is where the Meze really shine for me. Older recorded music. It gives it the heft, thump and fun factor that is needed. But I can still hear highs to give it some fun. Maybe the harmonics of the guitars aren’t as clear and bright as they could be on the song Second Hand News, but the sound is fun and inviting. In the middle of “The Chain” all the music pauses except for McVie’s bass line. That is rendered wonderfully on the Neo.

    In listening to the Meze 99 Neo over the week, I have been really impressed with the build, fit, comfort, sound and thump. Right now the Meze headphones are on a short list of headphones I want. In fact, the Meze 99 Classics or the Meze 99 Neo are the only new headphones that are on that list. I could see myself using these a lot more than some of my other closed back headphones.

    As I’m finalizing this review and proofreading, I’m listening to Steely Dan’s catalog. These sound perfect with Can’t Buy a Thrill and Countdown to Ecstasy. As I mentioned, I believe that the Meze really shine with older classic rock albums. As I was going through my collection, I realized how much of my FLAC music IS the older recorded music. So just for fun, I put on the Virginmarys – King of Conflict. This is a newer recorded album. It sounds very good with the Meze 99 Neo as well. Drums that make you want to get up and move. Check out Portrait of Red for an awesome and fun song.

    I would definitely recommend these headphones for anyone interested in closed back headphones that are simply great sounding and fun. I will be buying a 99 Classic or 99 Neo. I give it 4.5 stars. What more could you want from a headphone?

    EDIT: Update 01.29.2018
    Meze was running a holiday special on the 99Neo for $199. After writing this review and before the end of 2017 holiday season, I purchased a set of Meze 99Neo. I still absolutely love the 99Neo. I was part of the Shanling Hi-res Portable Players Review Tour. I got to experience the 99Neo with the Shanling M2s. I believe that they have tremendous synergy. You can read my review of the M2s here:


    The Meze 99 Neo are definitely my “go-to” pair of headphones at this moment. I had been doing a majority of my listening with in-ear-monitors prior to this.
  7. jinxy245
    Audio Candy
    Written by jinxy245
    Published Nov 17, 2017
    Pros - easily driven by portables; smooth sound signature; forgiving with poor recordings; addictive bass
    Cons - noise prone frame; lack of micro details; mids a bit too thick; overzealous bass
    In early 2016, I had the pleasure of participating in the Meze 99 Classic tour. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. A new release from a relatively unknown company that sounded that good was impressive, not just to me but to many of those who had the pleasure of hearing them. When I heard that Meze had planned to release a less expensive version, ($249 USD MSRP, and an advertised $50 discount for Black Friday 2017) I was excited to sign up for the Neo tour. To see how the 99 Neo stacks up to its more famous older brother, read on.


    I found the 99 Classics to be a beautifully designed headphone, and the 99 Neo doesn’t fall far from that mark. Where the Classics had wooden earcups (Walnut is all that is offered on their website currently with either silver or gold trim) the Neo is listed as having “coal black textured earcups” made of ABS plastic, but I personally find them to be solidly built and no less attractive.


    The rest of the build is (from memory) all but identical to the 99 Classics, and the website states “As the Neo shares the DNA of the Classics, we guarantee that the 99's are serviceable if any parts ever need to be replaced.”

    Comfort wise, the Neo feels exactly how I remember the Classics to be, which is to say very comfortable (in fact the larger pads provided are even more so). The weight (260 gr or 9.2 ounces without cables) is very well distributed with no hot spots noted and the clamping pressure never caused me any discomfort (larger heads may have different results).

    There has been much discussion (here and elsewhere) about the earpads, so I’ll put a bit of my 2 cents in here. When the Classics were 1st released, there was much ado about the size of the earpads. Many felt that they were too small and uncomfortable (I and a minority of others had less of a problem with them). Meze, being the responsive company that they are had issued a couple of different pads to counter this, eventually settling on the size that is offered with the 99 Neo here. Since Tyll from Innerfidelity reviewed the Neo, there has been even more of a kerfuffle around how they affect the sound. I’ll leave my sound impressions for the appropriate section, but comfort wise, these earpads certainly fit the bill for me. Plush, fairly roomy, and made from medium density memory foam, I have no real complaints with the comfort these pads provide (of course YMMV, yadda yadda…).


    Accessories are very good for this price range. 1st off, there is a useful & sturdy carry case which is a decent size for throwing into a backpack without taking up too much room. The case could be smaller, but like the Classics, the Neo doesn’t fold flat. My major criticism is that you have to unplug the cable to fit the Neo into the case. Although the review unit came with a 10ft long cable more suited for desktop or living room listening, the Neo is only shipped with a 4’ cable best used portably, but long enough if you sit close to your computer. That cable has an inline button remote which is said to be compatible with Smartphones and Android capable DAPs, but I didn’t get the chance to test this myself. The headphones themselves are symmetrical, so the only way to tell the left from the right is the white on silver writing on the connections, which I found to be difficult to read without glasses.


    Rounding off the accessories is a 1/8” x ¼” adapter, as well as an airplane adapter.


    Before I offer my listening impressions, I’ll start with a little about myself. I’m 50 years old and have less than perfect hearing. I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember, and I learned to listen a little more critically during the few years I sold audio equipment (and I continue to learn the more I listen). My fascination/infatuation with headphones began about 5 years ago, and has only gotten stronger. The majority of my listening was done listening to FLAC, WAV & various MP3s with my Shanling M2 (1st gen), Fiio x3 (1st gen.) or through my HP all in one PC and Audioquest Dragonfly(V1.2). My tastes are fairly eclectic, but my listening centered on classic rock, folk, jazz, classical and some of the genres of EDM. I didn’t bother with burning in the headphones since this is a review pair and probably already have a few hundred hours on them, nor did I hear any difference throughout my evaluation.

    Isolation is about average for a closed back headphone, muting outside noise but not totally blocking it out. Even with music playing at reasonable volumes, some sound can intrude .The metal frame I found to be highly microphonic, noisily clanging whenever knocked against just about any object. The cable seems to be improved from the Classics in that regard; I experienced less microphonics than I remember with the Neo’s older brother. The Meze is incredibly easy to drive, reaching deafening volumes with any source I tried, but they did scale up with better sources.

    I’d describe the Neo as a lush and warm headphone. It’s not the most resolving headphone by a long shot but it is enjoyable to listen to nonetheless. It throws a fairly wide and deep soundstage for a closed back can, which I find particularly impressive in this price range.

    The bass on the Neo is pretty far north of neutral. Since the emphasis is more on the mid bass, I wouldn’t call these basshead cans. In fact there does deem to be bass roll off starting in the neighborhood of 50Hz. The lowest notes are audible, however they aren’t presented with authority. The quantity of bass can be problematic as it does bleed into the lower midrange, and it’s not the most detailed bass either. While not as crude as ‘one note bass’, upright bass can sound smeared and indistinct if the recording isn’t up to snuff. To spite all that, I found the presentation is pleasant, if not downright addictive. I doubt that the lack of nuances would be noticed by the majority of listeners, and most will enjoy the extra boom the Neo brings.

    The midrange is present and has good clarity overall. The biggest problem here is a slight ‘cupped hands’ resonance with certain voices, which is further evidence of the pumped up bass. It’s most obvious with male vocals, but it’s not a glaring problem and is fairly track dependent. There is little to no problem with sibilance or other upper midrange anomalies, so guitars and such sound natural with a good amount of bite, without glare or fatigue.

    The treble isn’t horribly rolled off, but I wouldn’t call it airy and extended either. There does seem to be a dip between 5 & 8K, but I found that to be pleasant and not ‘sucked out’ but rather smooth. Occasionally some of the more delicate cymbal work and other audio markers can get lost in the mix, but that is track (and age) dependent, I think. If you’re a fan of shimmer and sparkle, these won’t likely scratch your itch, but in the other direction all but the most treble sensitive would likely find these to be a satisfying headphone. The highs can be a tad coarse in ‘texture’ on some recordings, but again it’s never piercing, and it’s not horribly egregious.

    As I alluded to before, I feel any review I did would be incomplete without touching a bit more on how the earpads affect the sound. When Tyll from Innerfidelity reviewed the Neo, he concluded that “the sound is more colored and uneven” with the newer pads and that Meze had “gone backwards with these pads”. Anyone who hears the original 99 Classics & the 99 Neo will notice the difference in the bass right away. Even from memory, the difference was pretty stark. Personally, I’m not nearly as critical of the sound of the Neo. Is it a reference quality headphone? No…no it’s not. Nor was it intended to be, unless I miss my guess. Tyll is absolutely correct (IMO) that the Neo comes off as “colored & uneven”. This is a take on a ‘fun’ sound signature, and fun it is. There are always tradeoffs when designing headphones, and Meze made their choices.

    I couldn’t help but be curious how much the sound would change with a little pad rolling, so I did experiment a little. The closest pads I have on hand to the original Classics pads would be the stock AT M40X pads.


    The plastic lip on the rear of the pads are a little different in size compared to the Neo, so it was a bit of a PITA to get the pads on properly, but once I did, the Neo did come much closer in sound (from memory) to the original Classics. The Neo retained most of its bass slam, but there was less bass bleed into the mids. Clarity overall was improved, and a bit more air and definition was added to the treble. It didn’t work miracles, no sub bass was gained, and the bass was still on the loose side, but it was very similar from memory to the 99 Classics with the original pads. The other thing it had in common with the original pads was, yes, the comfort. Every complaint lodged against the original pads would apply here as well. It wasn’t unwearable to me, but others with larger (or different shaped) ears would likely have a problem. The newer pads are indeed more plush and roomy, and for many that could be a deal breaker. What a difference a pad makes.

    I have to stress that to spite all its flaws I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the 99 Neo. I was fairly critical of the Neo in my review because if you look (or listen) from a ‘reference sound’ perspective, this headphone falls short on several points. However, if you’re looking for a smooth bass enhanced sound signature that’s definitely more on the ‘fun’ side of the audio equation, The Meze 99 Neo is hard to beat. It is like audio candy for me. It's great every now & then, and satisfies a craving but I wouldn't really want it as a steady diet. Imperfect or not, I smiled many times while using the 99 Neo. In the end, that’s what many of listen to music for anyway
      rafaelo and Pharmaboy like this.
  8. Mark Up
    This Is Good Progress
    Written by Mark Up
    Published Oct 25, 2017
    Pros - Quality Build, Fun & Honest Sound, Amazing Treble
    Cons - Still Tight On Large Heads, Ears Can Touch Drivers
    Meze 99 Neo
    I've reviewed their Classic, and appreciate Meze letting me review this model. Stay tuned for comparisons.

    I'm a lifelong musician, live and studio sound engineer, always with heavy duty earplugs. Often the only one in my band wearing them, but then, I've retained my unusually sensitive hearing because of it. I've tried too many headphones and in-ears to list. I'll refer to what I've tried where it's relevant in the review, to keep it simple. I've got some I'm happy with now, but I'm never tired of trying new things, so it brought me to these headphones.

    What I Look For
    I prefer warmer headphones, full lower mids, flat mids, reduced high mids. More than a moderate mid bass bump bothers me, and sub bass rarely extends low enough in most quality cans I'll try. I'll say "quality" since there are plenty that are explosive down there, but often at the expense of everything else. Some have said you can't have all frequencies well represented, but enough come close to this, so I know this can be done.

    Common Issues
    Fit has had me reject 80% of what I've tried. I much prefer over-ear. It's hard enough to get an over-ear to go over your ears (Senn. Momentum 1 for example and Momentum 2 isn't much better). My ears are fairly flat but learger around, proportional to being 6'5". My head is also, triple X hat size. Most companies could fit larger heads, with just an inch more band extension, but only some seem to take that into consideration.

    Design and Comfort
    These arrived well package and designed. Nice solid case and aesthetics. Very light yet sturdy. The plastic replacing the Classic's wood is sturdy, and not inclined to fingerprints. Still, I'm more into the sound aspect (and the fit, naturally). The band auto-fits easily, though like many w/ this style on me, they tend to contract when worn and have to be pulled back down sometimes. The design seems to allow some flex to fit better.

    Fully extended they reach my ears but press on the top of my head. The pressure at the top of the cups that I had with the Classic is not there now. You'll see in pictures I slipped the band on top of the metal hoops to make more room. Pads are better, still not quite deep enough. As pictured, I'd put on Audio Technica MSR7 pads, perfect fit perfect, more space for ears, and sound. I'll go into that in more detail further into my review.

    Sound Quality and Ideas
    A bit warmer vs Classics and I prefer that. That Meze treble magic that no other company has pulled off. Clarity without any lack of detail, yet no audible peaks and no fatigue, even for one as sensitive to treble as me. This is their strongest point. There is still a bit of mid-fi quality, but that's not a bad thing. For their price, they are among the best. Many long for a "closed HD650 (now 660s) with more bass and air" and these are that.

    The high mids are just right, blending with the highs perfectly. Another big win. The true mids (roughly 500 hz to 2 khz) are close to flat but with a pleasing bit of low mid warmth the Classic didn't quite have making them enjoyable, without a hard sound, yet you feel like you are missing nothing. Like the highs, they do this better than almost everyone else I've heard. A sound you can trust for accuracy, but is easy on the ears. Nice work.

    The lower mids are not lacking, the Classic did a bit. There is a bit of a buildup here, and in the higher bass, evident on some recordings. That bugs me. My headphone earpad swap (to AT MSR7 pads) got rid of that as they added spaciousness, treble detail (without fatigue) and no loss of bass (rare with a pad swap) or maybe even a touch more sub bass. Low mids are a 6-7 stock, and a 9-10 with the MSR7 pads. Yes, it's that good.

    Mid bass is nice with the right amount of boost. It has a bit more than the Classic, but till within an ideal range. Not for purists and not the "fastest" thing, but very pleasing. The fun goes lower (to my ear at least) than the Classic that rolled off under 40 hz. These don't roll off until under 30 hz with useful sub info at / below 20 hz. Graphs don't show this improvement though, in fact they show the Classic with the same or more extension.

    How They Make This Better
    Consider an easily removable pleather padded band vs. what is clamped on, as larger head folk like me can get by with just the outer metal hoop wires. They can be gently bent to fit even better. Their light weight, even lighter without that band, means no padding is no problem when the weight is spread out, with those two flat bands, which could always be wrapped in some thin padding, if needed. That would not be any issue for me.

    Meze, please consider buying Audio Technica MSR7 pads. Test them, and develop your next pad based on that. They slip into the groove and fit perfectly. Images show the same depth - but the less rolled off interior means it helps the cups sit a bit farther out to fit ears better. The better stereo depth and width, cleaning up low mids / mid bass, no loss of subs and better treble clarity (with no extra treble level) is a worthwhile goal.

    A word on the Audio Technica MSR7 ear pads. These are not as comfortable as the Meze stock pads which are amazingly soft. That firmness allows them to stay a bit farther out, giving you that space. The MSR7 pads ARE still very comfortable, it's just that the stock pads can spoil you, as they are among the most soft and compliant pads I've felt. So you won't feel uncomfortable, you just won't have the super pillow stock pads on them.

    Additionally, that firmness can cause the clamp to increase, if you have a large head and the clamp bothers you, you will find it increases with these pads since they don't compress as much. I'm already to where they are a little too small for my head so that did make it worse. If I did a "big head mod" and removed the band to just leave the outer rings, this will not be an issue and I'm considering buying these and doing just that with these.

    Meze 1.JPG Meze 2.JPG Meze 3.JPG Meze 4.JPG

    Mid December EDIT / Update for Brand New Pair

    I need to add an update / edit to my review and on every Meze post, where I had said something in particular. The Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 pads, which worked a miracle on the Sony MDR-1A, did change the sound of these headphones a bit. The test pair I had had a bit of a lower mid to high bass resonance build up that these tamed. I think that's what also bothered Tyll and others. They still do that, and if you want that area cleared up a bit these do it. They don't increase treble or decrease the sub bass, but the mids are every so slightly more recessed (true mids, 500 to 2 khz), the high mids aren't changed. I ordered a brand new pair. Not this may be because of slight quality improvements but these new Meze 99 Neo were best stock. Right out of the box, no burn in. The MSR7 pads had the above minor effect, but it is no longer needed, high bass and low mids had no excess to me, and true mids were full and as accurate, as do I prefer. I can't say these are the best in my collection, as each as a purpose, but they are now my favorite sounding all-rounder. My EMU Teak and my Sony MDR-1A are a bit more extended on both ends of the spectrum but don't have quite the stereo magic and gets a bit fatiguing on some songs with that. My Sony MDR-Z7 has slightly more soundstage / warmth.

    My Samson Z55 is a bit more flat / accurate. These still do treble better than any headphone I have ever heard. As easy on the ears as Senn HD650 but not 'veiled'. It you want a closed option - with a bit better imaging, more sub bass and more detail without any harshness, get these. I don't feel I lose any detail v. brighter phones I've heard, all the way up to the brightest and most expensive tested (the Focal Utopia or Sennheiser HSD800 / 700). Mids are absolutely perfect. Nothing missing, but no hot spots in true mids as Sony MDR-Z7 had before it was modded, and still can have occasionally, as some Planars can have. Even very neutral Samson Z55 is slightly north of what I'd like in that area vs. these. Without a high bass, low mid issue, I can't find a frequency area on it I'd want to change even with EQ if I tried to (I mix and master lots of music, I can usually find something). I'd maybe add 1 db at 10-20 hz (yes - I can hear that low), and that is it. Maybe 1/2 db less mid bass. If they did a slight tweak in design or quality control that caused this keep doing it. These are the BEST headphones under $250, period. I'd say even under $500. Open or closed. Being free of resonances and so spacious sounding, you don't need them open to to get that kind of width in their sound.
      sepukku and Bansaku like this.
  9. makan
    The Neo is value midfi for the bass-inclined
    Written by makan
    Published Oct 20, 2017
    Pros - Well priced, comfy, durable, inline control, nice case
    Cons - Does not fold flat
    Firstly, thanks to Meze for allowing me to participate in the loaner program. Lots of great reviews and photos of the Neo. I will provide a review based on my 40 something year-old ears whose favorite headphones currently are the Audeze LCD-XC and Hifiman HE-6. For a fairer comparison, for mid-fi closed headphones, I have the Denon D600 and Oppo PM-3.

    For its price, the Neo is really great value if you are looking for a durable, handsome, very comfy, darker, dynamic driver, bass heavy headphone with in-line controls. Compared to the planar PM-3, it is more comfortable and more bass-tilted. However, it does not fold flat and therefore is a little bit more bulky to transport…however, the case is very nice and like most headphones, you do need to unplug the cable to store it in the case. It works well out of my iphone 6 and to be honest, it sounds the same out of my Fiio X5 3rd gen. The Denon D600 is more V-shaped if you enjoy that, while the Neo is more balanced comparatively. I have also tried it out on my desktop amps, and again to be honest, I don’t think it scales up too much….perhaps, I don’t have golden ears.

    The fit is fantastic, as it is a self-adjusting mechanism and I figure it would fit most heads, and the headphones themselves are extremely light. I can wear them all day without any discomfort.

    So, what is the downside…none really, especially if you enjoy the bass-tilted sound. If you get a chance to try it and you like the sound, the value is unbeatable. If you are not sure, because it is not too pricey, it would be worth a gamble to purchase them and give them a go. If it does not work out, resell them later without much monetary loss.
      swspiers likes this.
  10. Currawong
    Good sound and great looks and comfort
    Written by Currawong
    Published Oct 9, 2017
    Pros - Very comfortable and stylish with an instant, easy fit. Easy to drive. Very good sound for relaxing listening or modern music.
    Cons - Less great with acoustic and classical. Non-folding cups make them bulky for portable use. Cable is a bit noisy. Earpads can get a bit sweaty.

    A few years ago a company from Romania caught my attention with some wood headphones that had attracted a few members. They quickly spotted that they were a rebrand of some Chinese wood headphones and nothing much came from it. However in the intervening few years after that initial bad start, Antonio Meze was hard at work on making a pair of well-designed, good sounding, and most of all, unique headphones. The result of his toil were the Meze 99 Classics, which are now joined by the black 99 Neo being reviewed here.

    The down-side to the design is that the cups don't fold flat, so along with the large arcs, once cased in the simple, but suitably solid included case, they aren't as portable as might be ideal and they are really going to stick out if used on public transport.


    The cables for the headphones are dual-entry using very thin 3.5mm TS plugs.. The standard cable, which is very long, terminates in a 3.5mm plug which can be adapted to 6.5mm with the included adaptor. A 3.5mm 3.5mm TRRS cable with an inline mic and play/pause buttons for smart phones is also included.

    Uniquely the headphones themselves don't have left and right cups, but are entirely symmetrical, so it doesn't matter which cup which plug is inserted. To determine left and right, the plugs themselves are marked, the left plug also having a protruding ring, making it easy to feel which side is left simply by touching the plug. This cable, due to the un-damped wooden cups can transmit some noise when rubbed, though I didn't find it a serious problem. Some people with noisy clothes might find it a bit of an issue, however.

    Overall, the simplicity of the design has resulted in great ergonomics and a light and comfortable pair of headphones that are also very attractive.

    Compared to the 99 Classics, the 99 Neo supports black plastic cups with a leather-like pattern, and silver-colored metal parts in place of those which were gold-colored on the 99 Classics. This naturally makes for a very attractive pair of headphones.

    The result of using plastic cups has two consequences: The first is that the 99 Neo are cheaper, Amazon.com showing $249 versus $309 for the 99 Classics. That's a 20% saving.

    The second is that a different cup material means different resonances and a possible change in sound. It was this which I wished to investigate.


    By default, both pairs of headphones have something of a warm-of-neutral sound, with a slightly, but not too forgiving treble, and moderately boosted bass. This is something I call a "consumer" tuning, as it mates well with modern, popular music.

    It also works well with older pop music that has been mastered in a way that lacks bass somewhat, as it boosts that region. Where it doesn't work as well is with classical and similar acoustic recordings, where the greater "air" of brighter headphones makes for a better match.

    While I wouldn't call the 99 Neo detailed, I wouldn't call it congested either, as the bass through to the treble is reasonably precise, with enough detail, even directly out of my iPhone 6, that I was capable of enjoying listening with them using some of the more modern music that I like.

    The sense of soundstage and instrument separation is also quite good for this price bracket, with again, only the slightly muted treble taking away from that on acoustic recordings.

    That being said, for fun I tried them out of Chord's Hugo 2 after using them out of my iPhone, and while the Hugo 2 sounded more natural, the 99 Neo wasn't going to show anything like how much of a jump in resolution the better hardware was capable of delivering.


    Comparing to the original 99 Classic was a bit trickier. For the most part, they were more similar than different, the sound of the original having a slightly nicer presentation, as sound reverberating off wood does. It wasn't, however, a big difference, and one I don't feel the need to go into detail over.

    The biggest difference is that the 99 Neo is cheaper, with Amazon.com showing a price of $249 versus $309 for the Classic. That means for a 20% saving, if you don't mind forgoing the wood, you can get pretty much the same pair of headphones.

    I wish these had been available back in 2007 when I started in the hobby, as these would have been the perfect pair of headphones for me at the time. Once again I reckon Antonio Meze has made a good pair of headphones for the average listener who wants something stylish and good-sounding.

      Bansaku and swspiers like this.