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Meze 99 Neo

Rating:
4.21212/5,
  1. darmanastartes
    Closed-back excellence
    Written by darmanastartes
    Published Sep 13, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Fun-sounding, comfortable
    Cons - Small soundstage, might be too bass-heavy for some
    DISCLAIMER:
    This review is based upon a tour sample unit provided to me by the manufacturer in exchange for my honest and unfiltered opinion. I am not being compensated in any way for writing this review. I have shipped the sample unit to the next reviewer.


    ABOUT ME
    I listen mostly to heavy metal, hip hop, and electronic music, as well as movie and video game soundtracks. I value detail, clarity, and soundstage above other acoustic qualities. I like V-shaped sound signatures, generally those with more of an emphasis on the treble. Other headphones I own or have owned in the past include the E-MU Teak, Mee Audio P1 Pinnacle, Mee Audio P2 Pinnacle, Fostex TH-X00, V-Moda M-80, V-Moda LP2 Crossfade, Beyerdynamic DT-770 (250 ohm), KZ ATE, Mixcder X5, Mee Audio M6, Hifiman HE-400S, and (very briefly) Phillips Fidelio X2.



    SOURCES

    I have used the Meze 99 Neo with the following sources:

    Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Global > Meze 99 Neo

    Windows 10 PC > JDS Labs The Element > Meze 99 Neo

    I have tested these headphones with Spotify Premium high-quality streaming and local FLAC.

    DSC07179.JPG

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    The Meze comes in a sleek semi-glossy box. The unit I reviewed came with a high-quality rigid carry case, 2 cables (one longer cable for desktop use and one shorter for use with a mobile source), a cable container, a ¼” to 3.5mm adapter, and a stereo female to 2-prong mono splitter. The texture of the carry case is exquisite, and the cable container fits below the top of the headband inside the case so that every component is easily portable.

    DSC07137.JPG
    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN

    The build quality of these headphones is excellent. I had previously thought about purchasing the Neos for myself, but ultimately decided not to based on the promotional images I’d seen. I had thought the luster of the cups was too shiny, but the sheen is much more subdued in person. Though I’m still not the biggest fan of the silver accents on the headband, I would not be embarrassed to wear these in public. The self-adjusting headband is smooth and stays in place perfectly while on my ears. I’d love to see it emulated on other headphones. The one negative point I’d like to make is that I’d occasionally get hairs caught in the silver parts of the headband. This did not happen often but was painful when it did.

    DSC07174.JPG
    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION

    I’m somewhat sensitive to clamping earpads. I have replaced the stock earpads on the E-MU Teaks and TH-X00s I have owned with Dekoni lambskin earpads, as the stock earpads become uncomfortable after a short period of time. The Neos earpads are more comfortable than the stock Fostex earpads, but not as comfortable as the velour pads on the DT770s. I could wear them for about 3-4 hours before they became uncomfortable. The earpads completely enclose my ears without squashing them, but I have small ears, so YMMV. Isolation is above average, less than the DT770s but more than the semi-open Fostex headphones. I have a fairly noisy keyboard and I couldn’t hear myself typing over music at a moderate volume. The Neos passed the girlfriend noise leakage test with flying colors, for which the threshold for failure is very low. I could listen to my music at high volumes even lying next to her without her complaining. For comparison, she has complained about noise leakage from my TH-X00s at higher volumes while sitting about ten feet away. These are a great option for listeners using public/shared spaces.

    DSC07142.JPG

    SOUND SIGNATURE/QUALITY


    The sound signature of these headphones is very warm, with pronounced bass and mids and rolled off treble. The bass is not as strong as in the TH-X00 and E-MU Teak, and does not slam the way the Fostex variants do. The Neos lend themselves well to distorted electric guitar driven music like heavy metal and hard rock. Bass drums and snares sound great as well. Clarity and separation are good. The Neos are not overly detailed, but are pretty forgiving of poorly recorded music. On the negative side, the soundstage is small, probably smaller than the DT770s and definitely smaller than the semi-open Fostex headphones.

    DSC07175.JPG
    GAMING

    I did not game extensively during the time I had these headphones, but I can say that positional audio works the way it should in first person shooters like Battlefield 1. However as I mentioned in the previous section, soundstage is lacking compared to the semi-open Fostex variants.

    DSC07149.JPG

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    The Neos are designed to be driven easily from mobile sources. I usually listened to music on my phone through the Neos at less than 50% volume, and at my desktop at less than a quarter turn from 0 on The Element on low gain. I did not notice a difference in sound quality between the two and did not test the Neos on my phone using an external amplifier.

    DSC07159.JPG

    CLOSING WORDS


    As I mentioned at the start of my review, I generally prefer detailed headphones with pronounced treble. The Neos cannot be described as such. The fact that the Neos impressed me so much in spite of this is a testament to how good these headphones are. They are easily driven, fun-sounding, well-built cans available at a very reasonable price ($200 retail). I cannot recommend these enough. Five stars.
      Bansaku likes this.
  2. SOULSIK
    Meze 99 Neo - All in one solution
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published May 21, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - style, fit, build quality, bass
    Cons - a bit recessed mids and highs
    VIDEO REVIEW :






    INTRODUCTION

    I have always been a fan of headphones with unique sound signature. A lot of you will agree with me on this, but sennheiser has been many’s favorite. I am afraid that changes today as I tried the 99 neo from a company called Meze. I’ve always thought sennheiser had great open back sound signatures but lacked in the closed back design but meze offers a closed back design with unique sound signature that I instantly fell in love with. Also, it is a much more affordable price. The best thing is that you can use these for both home & travel.

    ABOUT MEZE

    Meze is a Romanian audio company that has their values set right.

    Their values:

    Meze Headphones had stood by its values since the beginning of the company, we did not follow trends and let them influence the audio quality and design of our headphones. They are timeless objects that will not go out of style the next season. We achieved this through patience and dedication.

    And where there is values lies passion:

    Our passion for music and art is the drive behind Meze headphones. We created our range of headphones and earphones with this aspect in mind. We created them as if for ourselves.

    and their wood craftsman ship set above normal standards:

    The choice of wood is an inherently difficult one. Obtaining the desired qualities for wooden parts is a long and hard path. The rich colors of walnut require the use of air drying, the longer and more expensive process. Steam or kiln drying are cheaper techniques, but the colors tend to be washed out and there are also structural risks. It takes eighteen months for the wood to dry properly. This is the timeframe needed only for curing and drying the lumber before any further processing can begin. We are patient: we know that the result is worth the wait.

    Then, the process of shaping just a single pair of earcups takes up to 8 hours. The whole process of sanding, lacquering, and finishing lasts 45 days. We could cut corners, but we don’t sell ice cream. We fight time: this is the pride of the creator.
    The craftsmanship of our designs is paramount. It allows us to show the world our products almost exactly as imagined. The wooden components are carefully inspected and no flaws are permitted to reach the final assembly. Aesthetics are as important for us as they are for you. We want you to wear a pair of Meze Headphones and know that you are enjoying a timeless art piece.

    It is worth mentioning that all the wood that we use in our headphones is strictly harvested from sources with certificate of origin. That is, mature trees that have reached the end of their life cycle. This way, we are helping the environment and we're giving the old trees a chance to shine one more time in the shape of Meze Headphones.

    DISCLAIMER

    This review unit was sent to be by Meze as part of the headfi tour. As usual, all my reviews will stay honest and unbiased

    SPECS

    • 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

    THE BUILD QUALITY

    The build quality is incredible for the price and I have no complaints. Might as well skip this section if you are looking for anything but praise.

    The headphone is asymmetrical, allowing you to plug in the connectors any way you like it. Left & Right is irrelevant. This might seem like a small thing but it is extremely convenient in the long run.

    [​IMG]

    Meze also decided to magically make the headphones more comfortable and fit large types of head sizes be making the headphone adjustments “auto-adjustable,” with it stretching mechanism. There is nothing you need to do to get the perfect fit, Meze says “this is our job.” The headphone fit perfectly with great comfort and isolation. I felt like the headphones were customized for my head.

    [​IMG]

    Saying the cups are “plastic” is an understatement. These are high quality plastic that feels premium and rock solid.

    I do not understand how Meze can automatically find a way to make great stock cables when most companies out there cannot. With that being said, they do come with two cables, one longer cable for home use and one shorter one with control buttons for travel. The cables are braided up to the point of the splitters and then splits into a plastic/rubbery material that also do not feel cheap. I prefer this kind of mechanism (as long as it does not feel like cheap plastic/rubber) because it reduces the microphonic.

    The connectors are 3.5mm and terminates in a 3.5mm with a ¼ inch adaptor.
    The case that comes with the headphones is very nice and sturdy however, the headphones do not fit unless you unplug the connectors. They do include a separate case just for the cables but this is very inconvenient on the go and I would like to see a case where you do not need to unplug the connectors.
    The metal suspension seems sturdy and very solid. Although I felt like it was a little bit thin, I understand that the headphone needed to lose all the weight it can, for transportation use.

    [​IMG]

    The pads are also very soft and surprisingly comfortable despite its small size. I did find that the cups were a little bit too small and may not fit everyone’s ears perfectly “inside the cups”

    [​IMG]

    You want to talk about style. Let us talk about style. Hands down, my favorite looking headphones. Look at the picture and decide for yourself.

    [​IMG]

    SOUND QUALITY

    Lower Frequencies: I think the 99 Neo stands out in this frequency the most. Although it seems like the overall intent was for a balanced sound with emphasis on the bass, I found the bass to be not as tight as I wanted it to be, however this was after listening to other headphones that I’ve been reviewing and they are way above this price range. There is also sub-bass present and surprisingly very well presented. I would describe the bass to be punchy and even thumpy

    Mid Frequencies: I found this area to be a little bit recessed, especially the strings and vocals but it is not like it loses much detail. I believe this was also part of the sound signature that Meze was going for. Guitars and vocals are not as much as in your face but still presents itself with detail. Although clarity might be an issue here, I found it to be more and more pleasing as time passed by, listening to these headphones.

    High Frequencies: Not sibilant by any means, but also not that detailed. On the go, you wouldn’t here all the details anyways. However, there was nothing like “I hear stuff I never heard before,” it was plain old good treble that does not hurt your ears, it was much like the sennheiser HD6 - - series in this aspect.

    Sound Stage & Imaging: Obviously not the widest since these are a closed back design however, if you hear my demo, these are surprisingly good for a closed back design. I would say it gets close to the AKG 550 but not quite. Imaging is quite good, it is surprising what it can achieve in the small space it has, it is not a imaging of left and right but more towards up, down, left and right BUT in a closer /intimate way.

    Recommended song genres for the 99 Neo: Pop/Rock

    Overall Thoughts

    I’ve never seen a headphone so stylish that fits perfectly with such great sound. The sound signature offered by Meze is something special and something to enjoy for a long time without getting bored. I think for $250 USD, these are a steal and if you are looking for a ALL IN ONE SOLUTION for both home use and on the go, look no further, here it is.

    images

    1. 20170521_122004.jpg
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      Hisoundfi likes this.
  3. subguy812
    A New 99
    Written by subguy812
    Published Apr 29, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great build quality, Overall warmth, Detailed sound signature, price/performance ratio
    Cons - BASS alert in initial listen
    neo-
    ˈnēˌō/
    combining form

    1.
    new.
    "neonate"

    2
    .
    a new or revived form of.
    "neo-Georgian"


    https://www.mezeaudio.com/collections/all/products/99-neo


    Meze 99 Neo - Preorder
    -MRSP: $249


    SPECS

    · 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



    I want to thank the Meze Team for supplying me with the 99 Neo. Lorand was communicative and an overall great guy to deal with. I have found their customer service to be top notch.


    Anyone that has been on Head-Fi for the past year knows that a company named Meze made quite a splash in the Head-Fi world. With the release of their 99 Classics they received people’s attention and review accolades.

    Anyone that has followed any of my reviews knows that I swing towards the portable side of things. While the 99 Classics checked many of the boxes it needed, to be considered a true portable device there were a couple of my own personal boxes that they didn’t check.

    1) That entire headband contraption 2) They were a little too ritzy, gaudy looking for me, golden adornments and all.

    I ordered the 99 Classics when they were first released and honestly, they didn’t stay long in my collection. I couldn’t get past the ornate gold accent look, it was okay, I would only wear them around my house. Certainly, not out exercising or walking my dog around the neighborhood for our daily hour long walks. Also, I live in Florida and we have a lot of lightning strikes and the whole lightning rod on top of my head just doesn’t cut it. That said I do have closed back headphones that aren’t portable and never leave the house, I will place the Meze on that same non-portable shelf. If you don’t mind the styling of the Meze they could be considered portable and are well driven from a portable device. If I worked in an office I would clearly use these as my work headphones, that said I can’t use headphones at work.

    The other thing I didn’t like was that the pads were thin, shallow and too uncomfortable for longer listening sessions. So, I returned them and checked the Meze off of my list. Been there and done that.

    Thankfully, as I generally do, I was scanning Head-Fi for something new to check out and I ventured into the Meze thread. They mentioned new styling and the fact that they were shipping with a new larger pad. I took the plunge for a second time on a Black Friday offering and ordered a silver trimmed pair also making sure they had the new pads. WOW it is now one of my favorite headphone purchases. They truly do perform above their price range and are a terrific closed back headphone, especially at $309.

    This review however is about their new younger brother, the 99 Neo.


    IMG_20170414_171519.jpg


    IMG_20170414_171529.jpg


    IMG_20170414_171535.jpg

    I won’t do a boring unboxing but I wanted to show you the packaging as I like their marketing. It is plain, yet modernly, hip and kind of says “Buy Me”. At the end of the day it is a freakin’ box…move along nothing to see here.


    IMG_20170414_171616.jpg


    The case is nice, the outside is nylon covered, unlike the 99 Classics, and inside has space for the 99 Neo (without cable attached, kinda sucks) and a round storage thingie for your cables and the included adapters. The case is slightly different than their previous case but there was no reason for a major redesign. I appreciate the inclusion of a case with my purchase and do like it’s styling. Great job!

    Other noteworthy things to discuss are the fact that the cable has been slightly modified, compared to the original 99 Classics release. My Black Friday model 99 Classics have the new cable so the change is not new to me but it could be to you. The difference between the old and new cables is that the old cable had a cloth covering the entire cable and now above the Y-split it is rubber. I guess it is an attempt to cut out cable microfonics. The lower portion, beneath the Y-split is still cloth wrapped.

    IMG_20170414_171643.jpg


    IMG_20170414_171652.jpg

    The basic external design is the same sans the beautiful wooden cups. The cups have been replaced by ABS plastic. It is a black cup with some pebbling texture. I like the Neo styling more than the 99 Classics as they adorned the new cup with silver accents. To my eyes, a little less gaudy and flashy and more utilitarian and muted than the 99 Classics. I also noticed that there appears to be a new ear pad used on the 99 Neo even though the “new” one for the 99 Classics haven’t been around all that long. Hmm… I was a little curious about this change especially after Tyll was not to kind to say the least regarding the new pads and the effect on the Neo’s sound signature. New plastic cups and a different pad I need to hear this for myself and compare it to its older brother.

    IMG_20170414_171738.jpg

    Let’s get right to it…SOUND

    OH SNAP!!! To hell with tact …these freaking things have bass. Not just bass, a warm hot mess of bass. Bass splashing its bassy color all through my head. Bassgasm! Did I mention they are bassy?

    I know I have painted a picture that might have described Beats, pre Apple, but not so fast there mister, patience.

    When the 99 Neo were sent to me I was asked to do a proper burn-in of 48 hours of pink noise, being the compliant dude that I am I proceeded to set my DAP and pink noise file on repeat and left it alone to do its thing. The 99 Classics also benefited from a proper burn-in period so what the hell, I'm game.


    IMG_20170415_153214.jpg


    After the burn-in period I returned to a wonderfully warm, thick enjoyable sound signature. I enjoy a warmish tone to my headphones but the initial listen caught me by surprise. Since I did not write a proper review of the Meze 99 Classics I will throw out a couple of thoughts to give you a bit of a comparison to the 99 Neo. The 99 Classics have a warm tone, with a slight bass focus but the details show through with a nice treble extension, never harsh or sharp. The treble in the 99 Classics provides a bit more air around the notes.

    With patience waht can you expect from the 99 Neo compared to the 99 Classics? The sound of the Neo is warm, thick and bassy. After burn-in the treble shines through and provides more top end sparkle. They are not as detailed as the 99 Classics and I don’t feel the soundstage is quite on the same level as the Classics but really, surprisingly, it isn’t that far off. There is some nice layering in the overall sound and vocals have a force that is warm and soothing. I am not sure how Meze has done this. In my experience a sound this full and thick is usually a jumbled ball of mess appearing in the middle. The 99 Neo truly shatters that pre-conceived notion.

    If I could sum up my feelings about the 99 Neo in a sentence it would be the sound presents itself as if the ear cup is cavernous, deep, and never ending, and I LIKE IT. It truly is a badass, powerful can.

    I used both the Samsung S8+ and the Opus #2 for a comparison of sound and both were capable of driving the 99 Neo with authority. It probably goes without saying that the Opus #2 was my favorite pairing because of its pleasant sonics. but the S8+ and Poweramp beta utilizing 24-bit output sounds damn good as well.

    IMG_20170415_153245.jpg

    With the differences between both of the Meze headphone offerings came some questions. I asked the Meze Team what their thoughts were behind the 99 Neo and Lorand from the Meze Team was kind enough to sum it up.

    The dialogue is below:

    “As I prepare to begin to write my review would you mind giving me Meze’s thoughts on the tuning vs. 99 Classics. There are some real differences, was it purposeful or is the difference in plastic cups or what?”

    Lorand’s response;

    “There is no difference in the tuning between the 99 Classics and 99 Neo, the drivers are the same. The difference in sound comes from the ear cup chamber and because of the materials used. We expected the change and experimented with the material.”

    Not earth shattering but it is clear this is the sound they were seeking and are satisfied with the final product.

    IMG_20170415_153258.jpg

    Conclusion:

    An enjoyable experience. Meze has delivered two products that perform above their respective price points. At $249 I feel you would be hard pressed to find any other product that delivers an experience equal to the 99 Neo. The 99 Classics are listed at $309 so Meze offers you a couple of terrific options with aggressive pricing. Those of you that already the 99 Classics will enjoy a different sound signature. Those of you that have no Meze products have a choice to make. You will be happy with either one. I wanted to leave this review with a final sentence regarding my preference between the two. I know the question is “If you could choose only one which one would it be?” Fortunately, I have both and don’t have to answer the question. Insert mic drop meme here.
  4. Ike1985
    Meze 99 Neo: Hitting Far Above It's Pricepoint
    Written by Ike1985
    Published Apr 28, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Big Stage, Good Detail, Warm Smooth Signature, **Exceptional Value**
    Cons - Bass May Be Too Much For Some
    Introduction


    Review Introduction

    I am both a stereophile and an audiophile. I am an audiophile so as to further my enjoyment of the music I consider essential in life. Life without music isn’t much life at all, when I’m able to hear more detail or the song better rendered the reason for audiophile gear becomes is clear. I enjoy black metal, doom metal, death metal, stoner metal, sludge metal, technical metal, hard rock, synthwave, retrowave and all subgenres within those genres. I prefer high resolution/detailed neutral IEMs/headphones that sparkle in the highs and extend deep into the bass regions that also have a dash of warm to keep them from sounding bright.

    When I heard that there was an opportunity to review the Meze 99Neo’s I immediately jumped on board the tour. I am grateful for Meze providing me this opportunity to hear the pre-production 99Neo’s.

    Product Introduction
    1.jpg

    The 99Neo is the latest iteration of the 99 Classic’s. The 99 Classics were well received across the audiophile community, their warm neutral tuning and spectacular detail retrieval was a hit. Building on this success Meze sought to create a more cost efficient version of the 99C’s in order to share their sound with a broader community. The 40mm Neodymium and Mylar driver between the two phones remains identical while the tuning slightly varies.

    7.jpg


    Meze spared no expense on packaging. The 99Neo arrives in a beautiful flip top box that magnetically opens from the side revealing the 99Neo secured in a sturdy hard mesh EVA zippered case that runs snug along the contours of the phones protecting them from impacts. A frequency response graph adorns the outside edge of the cardboard box while inside you find a nice small circular case that contains a braided Kevlar mic cable a ¼” adapter as well as a non-mic cable, airplane adapter and small instruction booklet. The cable has a button that allows you to take calls and a rubber piece designed to absorb microphonics. Dual 2.5mm male connectors mate with the female sockets on the left and right of the phones. The 99Neo uses soft black abs softly lined and swiveling ear cups to channel sound to the ear whereas the 99C’s used wood. Also the cups on the 99Neo were enlarged after complaints about the small size of the 99C cups. The 99Neo is setup such that is serviceable by the user with the driver coming out in a single assembly and the rest being bolted on. The 99Neo’s do not compress into a small footprint like the VMODA Crossfade 2. Weight wise the 99Neo’s are extremely light at approximately 9oz. Meze went with a suspension system that features a leather strap that widens toward the center. Don’t expect any blue tooth functionality as the Meze doesn’t have any, users of Apple phones will need a connector.

    Technical Specifications

    Please see below for technical specifications:

    Headphone Classification: Closed Back

    Transducer: 40mm Neodymium & Mylar

    Frequency Response: 15Hz-25KHz

    Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW

    Impedance: 26 ohms

    Input: 30mW

    Max Input: 50mW

    Weight: 9oz

    THD: 0.03% (1kHz, 1Vrms)

    Sound Analysis

    Headstage:
    When discussing stage I differentiate between headstage and soundstage. Head stage is the distance we actually hear the sound coming from as we consciously focus on that distance. Think of headstage as listening while holding your hand over the IEM/headphone (you are aware the sound is coming from inside it) and thus the size of the stage is diminished because of this awareness.

    I experience a soundstage when I disappear into the music without thinking. It’s best done in a dark room with eyes closed. What the brain is consciously aware of about the visual, thinking and tactile processes affects how we perceive the soundstage and headstage.

    Many things can affect our perception of soundstage. In the natural world the further away a sound is the less texture it will have. The texture is absorbed by land, atmosphere and obstacles on its way to our ears. The same is true of high frequency sound. Quiet sounds and sounds with reverb also sound further away. Highly textured sounds appear closer to us than sounds lacking texture.

    Imagine a human head with a 3D axis placed in the center of it. The Y-axis is the height, the X-axis is the width and the Z axis is the depth. From these three planes we can form a 3D representation of both headstage and soundstage.
    head.jpg
    The general shape of the headstage is rectangular with the left and right ends of the rectangle being stretched outwards creating a “far away” sounding effect. Headstage size is large for a closed back headphone: the X axis extends approximately three inches outside the ear, the z axis extends approximately an inch in front of the face and equally so beyond the X and Y intersection. Headstage height is great, being approximately four inches above the X axis and an inch or two below.


    asdf.jpg

    With regard to sound positioning within the headstage, I hear vocals, drums and bassline being closer in toward the center of the head on the X axis. Vocals sound closest as they appear to originate about an inch inside the ears on the X while drums and bassline sound an inch or two outside the ear. Accuracy in stage isn’t pin point and it isn’t blurry.

    Soundstage:
    i.jpg


    The 99Neo’s soundstage is very wide for a close back headphone. I don’t get an enveloping sense of the sound wrapping around me, what I do get is a very wide stage that has good height as well. In fact the height is one of the best I’ve ever heard in a phone, a very dynamic and tall presentation. The bass heavy midrange and lower frequencies contrasted with the high end creates stage distance between the near and far sounds but the effect isn’t dramatic due to the polite treble. Texture detail is excellent in the mids and lows while bass decay is long as is treble decay. This effect of having highly textured mids with less textured lows creates the illusion of increased stage proportions because sounds with less texture sound further away especially when they are contrasted with highly textured sounds. The distance between vocals and instruments increases when I perceive the soundstage in the quiet dark without other stimuli. This is another trick the 99Neo uses to create distance in-stage, contrasting the positioning of the sound by placing the low end closer and the high end further away.

    Resolution and Imaging
    5.jpg

    The 99Neo’s manage to be highly resolute despite their very warm tuning. I get very good isolation and seal from them which increases resolution. I hear the highs and lows as being less detailed than the mids. The sub and mid bass decay is largely responsible for this as the decay creates haze in the highs. Vocals are extremely detailed due to their closeness to the listener; breaths, throat clearing and all those little intricacies are all readily apparent. Imaging is precise, accurate and weighty; solidifying the inception of notes and pin pointing them.

    Transparency

    If due to natural tone and transparency an IEM/headphone can disappear completely, at that moment it deserves to be among the top of the line monitors in my opinion. This transparent effect is more apparent in IEMs, especially CIEMs as they are molded to the skin and quickly assume body temperature helping them disappear. Every headphone must strike a balance between dynamism and transparency, the more dynamic the sound the more localized it becomes to the listener.

    When I listen to the 99Neo’s I hear a very engaging, dynamic and thick sound. With regard to the balancing act between transparency and dynamism, the 99Neo chooses dynamism. That isn’t a bad thing as the 99Neo firmly preferences dynamism and put’s all effort into creating the most dynamic sound it can. It does this well by utilizing a number of elements that aid in creating a dynamic sound: a wide but more importantly tall stage, a low end with deep extension and excellent separation in-stage between sounds. Despite its’ thick sound it does not create congestion, the thickness does create a more concrete less airy sound.

    Layering and Separation

    Warm signatures tend to lead to congestion in the sound and a loss of separation between layers and a loss of in-stage accuracy with regard to the listener pinpointing the origin of a sound. This is not the case on the 99Neo. Layers remain encapsulated such that the listener can easily distinguish them even in very fast passages. Instruments stand out from each other but more so in the attack than in the decay. This is because of the aforementioned sub bass bump as well as the mid bass bump in approximately the 300Hz region. It’s easier to hear the origin of a high note in stage but less so to follow it’s decay, whereas the bass frequencies are both easy to spot and easy to follow. I don’t hear any heard breaks between the highs, mids or low and all of them merge seamlessly into a relaxed flow.

    High Frequencies

    99Neo does not sparkle but it does extend well into the high end. I cannot fault a headphone for not having sparkle when that was never intention of the tuning in the first place and with the 99Neo I do not believe it was. If you are someone who enjoys warm smooth signature you will enjoy the 99Neo’s and you will never have to worry about sibilance even on the harshest recordings. In the high end attack is more emphasized and apparent than decay which can help treble to stand out against the warm background. The long decay is still there but it’s recessed into the background as the bass and vocal texture is brought forward. I was to apply a good amount of EQ to the highs without distortion.

    Middle Frequencies/Vocals
    3.jpg

    I hear very detailed mids with the detail more concentrated in certain mid regions than others. By that I mean the vocals sound extremely detailed to me, midrange instruments less so but not by much. Much of this vocal detail is due to the forward positioning of the vocal range. Like the lows, the mids are thick and heavy. The 99Neo retains a natural tone and sound no matter if it’s upper, lower or central mids remaining warm and detailed throughout.

    Low Frequencies

    The slight bump in the mids at approximately the 300Hz region creates a full bodied sound that spills over into the rest of the sound and punches with authority. The 99Neo can rumble with the best of them and it doesn’t sacrifice very much detail to this bump, it remains an extremely detailed headphone. Mid bass and sub bass both exhibit excellent clarity and extension. When tuning a headphone everything is a tradeoff, if you want that visceral and tactile rumble, punch and slam then you’re going to have to sacrifice some detail/texture. I experienced no distortion when increase the quantity of bass via EQ.

    Comparisons

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    At this time I do not have any headphones to compare the 99Neo to, soon I will compare it to the V-MODA Crossfade 2. For now, I’ll indulge some CIEM comparisons.

    A12:

    The A12 and 99Neo are extremely similar. Due to the fact that it is a headphone , the 99Neo obviously has a wider stage, however that difference is minimal especially when the A12 has an ADEL MAM module in it. They are similarly warmly tuned with recessed treble. With an ADEL module in the A12 they are nearly identical but with the apex M15 the A12 pulls away with more detail/texture, more high end and better imaging/separation. Vocals are also slightly further away from the listener on the A12 than the 99Neo. Drums are closer X and Y axis intersection on the 99Neo, much the same way it pushes vocals toward the center and toward the listener. A12 and 99Neo share a similarly slow but not identical “speed of sound”. The sluggish “speed of sound” effect is worse on the A12 than the 99Neo as the 99Neo is slightly more nimble. If you enjoy A12, you’ll love the 99Neo, 99Neo could even been seen as a cheap way of getting that liquid, smooth and dark sound of A12 at a fraction of the price with a slightly larger stage.

    A18:

    A18 has more detail across the spectrum, it doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at mid bass or high frequency textures the A18 trumps the 99Neo in all of them with regard to resolution. A18 stage is obviously smaller with the gap being more apparent than the 99Neo stage vs the A12 ADEL stage. A18 is brighter by a significant margin than 99Neo but the A18 isn’t a bright monitor as it has a neutral tuning with a dash of warmth. Vocals are similarly positioned on both-being inward toward the center of the head on the X axis . A18 has much more high end extension, decay and especially sparkle. A18 has better imaging with its’ pin point precision and exceptional layering and separation. That isn’t to say that 99Neo is a slouch in these areas because it certainly is not it’s just that the A18 is better at it.

    Pairing

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    Mojo:

    I like the Mojo pairing but it wasn’t my favorite. It remained very detailed but too warm and the dynamism seemed diminished. It was as if the headphone lost a few inches of headstage in all directions.

    ALO CDM:

    I liked the sound coming out of the CDM in DAC + amp mode with 99Neo much more than I did with Mojo. The CDM’s DAC is brighter than Mojo and as a result it didn’t darken the sound. It also retained and even increased the spaciousness of the stage. Stage itself was larger and the space between the instruments was greater as well. The already thick sound was even thicker and the midrange was more forward which was quite nice. Dynamism was also increased, a very nice pairing.

    Mojo + CDM:

    I heard the detail of Mojo and the dynamism, spaciousness and massive stage of the CDM’s amp however the sound was still to dark. CDM went a long way toward correcting the laid back un-dynamic sound of the Mojo but it just wasn’t enough as the sound was too warm. The 99Neo is already a very warm headphone and I just can’t find any pairing with Mojo that makes it tolerable for me. Perhaps a very bright amp when paired with Mojo and 99Neo would be great but I don’t know as I don’t have one.

    Suggestions For Improvement

    I always try to find improvements no matter how minor. The most apparent and immediate improvement was the realization that it would be nice to not have to disconnect the cables every time I place the headphones in the case. Sound wise I would like to see the mid and sub bass decay tightened up a bit and the sparkle increased-remember though that this is all preference as you may love the signature just the way it is. After reading Tyll’s review I see that he has found some issues with the cups so this may be the reason for the bass bloat.

    Conclusions

    I think it would be difficult to find a headphone in the price range of the 99Neo that can do everything the Neo does. You get a smooth warm signature with great detail, dynamic and thick sound, full bodied mids, authoritative tight and punchy lows, the largest stage I’ve ever heard on closed back headphones, exceptional comfort devoid of hotspot and excessive clamping pressure. With regard to comfort I found the 9oz Neo’s to be exceptionally light, they can get a bit warm around the ear after an hour so but most all the headphones I’ve tried that I get a good seal with do this so I don’t fault them for this. The real leather strap suspension is exceptionally comfortable. If you like a warm detailed signature I do not believe you can do better at $250 than the 99Neo’s.

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  5. reddog
    The Meze 99 NEO is a very good potable headphone
    Written by reddog
    Published Apr 27, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great bass, a fun musical signature, lighter the the Neo Classics, a sexy headphone to wear out and about
    Cons - Depending upon the dap / source the bass can be a tad boomy. The mids are lush but not as airy sounding as the Classics. I also felt the ear pads on the Neo are warmer and tended to make my ears sweat, if walking outside.
    The Meze 99 Neo is a great headphone, especially for the money. The Neo has the same sexy steam punk sorta look / design, and ruggedly build, however the cups are made of this jet black plastic composite, and all the fixtures and connectors are a nice nickel color. The Neo like the Classic has has a slight steam punk look.These amazing headphones are lighter than their slightly more expensive big brother the 99 Clasics. The Meze 99 Neo is extremely comfortable to wear, especially if your taking a stroll in a store or some other air conditioned area, otherwise the earcups can make your ears sweat (I live in Florida). These rugged cans fit nicely into my leather audio bag. The case that comes with the Neo is nice like the Classic, but the outer shell seems easier to grip. I just wish the headphones fit into the case with cables attached.
    The Neo like the Classic 's scales well with the audio equipment used. I primarily drove the Neo using my Questyle QP1R Dap. The Neo sounds amazing out of the QP1R, much better than using my tablet or IPad. But the Neo sounded really good out of my Schiit Audio Gungnir multibit and Mjolnir 2. I also was quite pleased when I used the Yggdrasil and Cavalli Liquid Gold. This combo allowed the Neo to sound so detailed and resolute. However I feel the Neo sounds best out of a tube amp.
    The Meze 99 Neo sounds Great. It has a good , fun musical signature with more stress on the bass and lower mids than say my Oppo or PM-3. The Neo has more bass ( quantitative ) than the Classics or the PM-3's. I felt the bass in "Uncle Remus" ( Frank Zappa Apostrophe) was deeper hitting than when using the Classic 's or the PM-3's. The bass is deeper but not as nuanced ( qualitative) than found in the Classics, or especially in the PM-3. Depending upon audio equipment used, the bass could be a tad boomy.
    Likewise I found the Midds in the Neo to be lush with a touch more emphasis on the lower end. However the midds on the Classic are more airy than the Neo. I loved the groups They Might Be Giants and Green Jello more on the Neo than the Classics. For instance "Intanbul" in They Might Be Giants album Flood is so much fun to jam out too, especially when I am walking through the park looking for the preverbial "bird house in my soul". And the Neo makes " Three Little Pigs" on Green Jello's Cereal Killer album sound bloody great. The treble on the Neo is rock solid and is not strident. I listened to Mozart and Tomita stuff and was impressed how good the Neo handled such music.
    In conclusion I think the Meze 99 Neo is a great headphone especially for the money. It sounds great and has a sweet steam punk look. The Neo is easy to drive, and sounds great out of the QP1R dap. The Neo scales up well with the equipment used. The bass at times could be a tad boomy depending upon the equipment used. And the ear cups can be a bit hot, especially used in hot Florida weather.
    My name is Andrew W Jones, I have been into this amazing hobby for about 3 years now. I did not receive and compensation for my review. I am just happy I was asked to participate in the Meze 99 tour. I hope sometime to be able to upload my pictures.
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  6. B9Scrambler
    Meze 99 Neo: Multifaceted Beauty
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Oct 21, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Visual appeal - Material and build quality - Long term comfort - Lush sound signature
    Cons - Bass can be bloomy - Headband transmits noise
    Greetings!

    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!

    Disclaimer:

    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

    Source:

    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.

    Specifications:
    • 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;

    CLASSICS SERIES

    MEZE 99 NEO

    DESIGNED BY ANTONIO MEZE​

    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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    Sound:

    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)
      trellus and MezeTeam like this.
  7. Johnny Mac
    Meze 99 Neo, new yet lasting.
    Written by Johnny Mac
    Published Oct 13, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Superb build quality, looks gorgeous, balanced sound.
    Cons - Non-foldable, earpad outline for earpad rolling could be better.
    upload_2018-10-13_21-52-52.jpeg
    [​IMG]

    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    Tonality

    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.

    Lows

    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.

    Midrange

    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.

    Highs

    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

    [​IMG]

    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.

    Conclusion

    [​IMG]

    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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  8. Howlin Fester
    Meze 99 Neo by Howlin’ Fester Everything you want.
    Written by Howlin Fester
    Published Dec 5, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great bass sound.
    So much fun.
    Comfortable
    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.


    Introduction:
    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.

    Sound:

    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.

    Comfort:
    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.

    Glasses:
    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.

    Conclusion:
    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:

    https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/sh...d256-hifi-lossless-music-player.22354/reviews

    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.
  9. makan
    The Neo is value midfi for the bass-inclined
    Written by makan
    Published Oct 20, 2017
    4.5/5,
    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.
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  10. dweaver
    Wonderful headphone that continues the same legacy as the original 99 Classic on it's own terms and looks.
    Written by dweaver
    Published Apr 23, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Slightly elevated bass than Original classic , unique black design is every bit as sharp as the original wood designed 99 Classic
    Cons - the cable still has a slight microphonic issue, slightly less airy than the original Classic 99
     
    First if I would like to thank Meze for including me in their review program. I did NOT receive these for free, like all other reviewers in the program I have been given a 1 week window to review the headphone, then ship them on to the next reviewer.
     
    Ok, so now that I have dealt with the usual disclaimers let get into the review.
     
    I am really taken in by the look of the Neo, I absolutely love the textured look of the cups, the classic black color, the accents on the edge of the cups and general over all look of the headphone. Meze simply has one of the best set of designers out there when it comes to making a good looking headphone. The Neo may be made from "inferior" plastic materials when compared to wood but it sure doesn't look or feel in any way shape or form inferior! In fact anyone who is not a fan of wood will LOVE the Neo alternative, and anyone who love the wood originals may love the Neo JUST AS MUCH! I personally would be more than happy with either one.
     
    Aside from the obvious changes in cup material there also appears to be slight differences in the ear pads from my 99 Classic's. The Neo appears to have slightly wider and taller inner measurements This makes them slightly more roomy for the ears but also not quite as cushy. Having said this I have the original large pads sent out by Meze for the 99 Classic on my pair and that ear pad may have been modified by Meze since then so may very well be the same as what is on the Neo. I will let Meze comment on whether the pads truly are different or not. The case for the Neo is also slightly different than the 99 Classic as it is more textured and might be considered slightly less posh by some. For me I find both cases to be well designed and well suited for their purpose.
     
    My photography skills suck but I thought I would post a few pictures of the Neo and the Classic.
     
      
     
    So what's different sonically speaking?
     
    When I first received the Neo I did an initial listen then let them cook for 24 hours and then did some initial impressions of the Neo compared against the Classic on a few select songs. I then let them cook for another 3 days as I went out of town. I then compared them again using the same songs and found my first set of impressions were essentially the same. I have copied and tweaked those initial impressions to help people decide which headphone is best for them.
     
    In my testing I took a couple of songs and did a comparison between the Classic and the Neo. I left the volume unchanged, switching between the 2 headphones and replayed the songs in segments focusing on specific areas and pieces of the songs to determine whether I heard differences and if so what they were.
     
    Fleetwood Mac - The Chain - First 32 seconds of the song. The Neo has slightly more thump and body in the kick drum and the guitars are slightly more warmer sounding with less crunch. The 99 sounds thin in comparison but in some ways more articulate and airy. I like both ways and the differences are VERY subtle. 2:30 to 3:15 of the song the 99 Classic has slightly more shimmery cymbals and the vocals are a bit brighter, the bass guitar that cuts in at around 3:05 lacks a bit of authority though. The Neo on the other hand has slightly starker contrast between cymbals and the drums and vocals are slightly warmer and when the bass guitar kicks in there is more authority and weight to the guitar.
     
    Beckah Shae - Rest (song with a pretty heavy Bass), Hmmm this song has a pretty deep electronic bass but surprisingly both headphones went about the same in depth and weight. Vocally the 99 Classic is slightly brighter and cymbals similarly have a bit more shimmer. This seems to indicate the midbass of the Neo is slightly more boosted than the classic but they both have similar sub bass. At the 4:13 point in the song their is a simulated heartbeat section and the Neo definitely has more weight and presence and is also stronger contrast in the cymbal like percussion as well.
     
    Hans Zimmer - Cornfield Chase - Intersteller, throughout the majority of this song there is a subtle deep bass that gains strength and urgency as the song plays. This bass presence is more evident in the Neo than the Classic.
     
    Patricia Barber - Code Cool, this song has a heavy Double Bass beat contrasted with cymbals and fine drumkit work and Patricia's impeccable vocals. This bass is heavier on the Neo but also feels every so slightly more closed in. The drumkit work is more clear and shimmery on the Classic and vocals are slightly more airy and dry. I personally prefer the Classic ever so slightly for this song.
     
    To my ears the Neo has a slightly more V shaped signature with a slightly bigger midbass hump that extends just enough to affect the midrange slightly, giving it more warmth. There also appears to be a small spike in the lower treble range where cymbals start giving them a bit more energy at the initial impact.
     
    Now I want to be clear here these differences are not massive and if I was not able to A/B test I would have a hard time pointing out these subtleties.
     
    So if someone owns the Classic or has heard it and wished it had a bit more oomph to it the Neo might be just the ticket for that person. Conversely if you absolutely adore the Classic sound you might find the Neo to be a bit to heavy and thick sounding. Personally I think the Meze team might be envisioning the Neo as a bit more of a road warrior with it's tougher cup material and the changes I am hearing are engineered to give a better listening experience in a slightly more noisy environment.
     
    OK, now that I have discussed these subtle differences I am hearing. What do I think of the new Neo??
     
    DAMN IF IT AIN'T ONE FINE PIECE OF KIT!
     
    I love how it looks, how it fits, and how it plays. It is an amazing headphone that is every bit as wonderful as the 99 Classic which is work of art in my opinion. I love my Classics but would be just as happy owning the Neo as they both exude a level of sophistication physically and sonically. In fact their differences in appearance in MANY WAYS directly reflect the subtle differences in their sound...

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