Meze 99 Neo headphones review - expatinjapan

Meze 99 Neo review


Meze 99 Neo and Opus#3 dap
Meze 99 Neo headphones review
-expatinjapan




`A fresh take on the 99 series for the uptown audiophile, 99 Neo brings together Meze Audio’s signature sound quality with cutting edge style.` - Meze website

Head pie has previously reviewed the Meze 99 Classics:
A headphone which we love and has a strong fan base.
let us see how the newer Neo measures up when compared.



Build and unboxing



The Meze 99 Neo packaging echoes the 99 Classic packaging.
The Meze 99 Neo packaging echoes the 99 Classic packaging.
The Meze 99 Neo packaging echoes the 99 Classic packaging.


Meze 99 Neo and CEntrance Hifi-M8


Some specs for that special someone who likes specs and stuff.



Repeating the name so it gets embedded in your consciousness.
99 Neo, 99 Neo, 99 Neo...



99 Neo! By Meze! Designed by Antonio Meze.


Its a box, Jim!


Ooh, nice hard ass case to protect your precious goods whilst commuting or traveling across the world. But we all know you will just hang them around your neck to look cool.


Whats in the soft circular pouch? Is it a tiny cat hat?



Exquisite detailing. Each piece specially designed to be replaceable If the need arises.



Those cups. Smexy styling for the audiophile about town.


As an earlier review unit my headband lacks the 99 Neo logo that the final version will have.
Buuurnn for Head pie *sad face*


Ah there we go, a detachable cable for the 99 Neo.
When you just want to look cool, hang em around your neck without the cable and tell everyone they`re bluetooth.



Bits and pieces of my broken heart, mind and soul.
Oops, my mistake. included bits and bobs of fancy.

*The retail version will not include the longer cable or airplane adapter. Buuurn for you this time.


Sound.

As expected there is the obvious question of what is the difference between the two models? 
The 99 Classic and the 99 Neo. Looks, material and sound in a nutshell.

Some will buy based on looks alone, one crowd preferring the natural and smexy wood finish of the 99 Classic, the others perhaps more cyber urban preferring the sleek black look of the modern commuter or inner city cyber punk.

Regardless one can`t be disappointed with either of these headphones by Meze. Like their earphones which echo the headphones look on a smaller scale having both would be ideal to match ones mood on any given day.

As usual I burned in the headphones for a a decent amount of hours before commencing on the review to keep the believers and non believers alike happy.

I used FLAC tracks of 16/44 mostly, and usually on a random shuffle mode. Daps employed for the purpose were the ipod touch 6G, iBasso DX200, Opus#1, Shozy Alien Gold and Opus#3.

Meze 99 Neo and Opus#1 dap.
Can`t got wrong with The Ramones!
Not a fan? GTFO!

The Meze 99 Neo differs from its predecessor in its cup change, from wood to black ABS plastic.

The sound differences happily echo the experiences I had with the 12 Classic and 11 Neo earphones.
Please see the earlier Head pie reviews:

One expects a certain sonic signature difference from wood versus plastic, whilst this is most certainly true with these two headphones the valley between them both isn`t so wide. They share much in common as the general specs reveal.

Meze 99Neo and iBasso DX200. A bit of the sultry Lana del Rey.


Lets take a look back at the Meze 99 Classics
http://headpie.blogspot.jp/2016/08/meze-99-classic-headphone-review.html

`Vocals: Neither too forward nor recessed the vocals on the Meze 99 Classic hit the sweet spot for me.
Bass: A slight slow decay is present, but overall is fast enough to please with most music.
Mids: As with most woodies the mids play an important part in the overall presentation, not overly warm as such, more on the liquid side of things rather than a deep lushness. fairly neutral and dynamic with a quick decay.
Treble: It is clear and offers the detail one expects, it veers away from being extended to the point of harshness or sibilance and is pleasing to the ears. It reaches far enough for a good balance with the bass and the mids, each not over stepping their individual bounds.

Instrument separation: Good separation, not crisp as such with a slight smudging at times. Overall very good.
Sound stage: A decent soundstage that feels larger than my head, good instrument placement.`

The Pixies, one of the groups along with The Smiths who redeemed the 80s.


And now lets look at the Meze 99 Neo

Vocals: nice and balanced with the music, not too forward nor back overall (mens vocals can be slightly forward at times), very smooth and even.
Bass. Is tight and fast. At times deep and with a punch to it.
Mids: Quite lush, present and defined. Very clear and smooth.
Treble: It is not as stretched as I would imagine it might have been. But is more than satisfactory. It has a nice reach. It balances out the overly dark leaning sound signature and is its saving grace.

Separation: Is crisp and well defined. Individual instruments are differentiated from each other.
Sound stage: It is above medium. It is a closed headphone so there are some limitations, but this didnt interfere with any enjoyment. Sound stage is more outside ones head, rather than inside it.

It has a bit of a xXx signature at times, a bit of a lil something extra in the mids. at other times a XXx signature depending on what music is being fed to them.


Meze 99 Neo and iBasso DX200

`Laaaana` - ABC Warriors.


Value

Slipping in at a easy to digest US$249 - US$300 the Meze headphones are certainly an affordable entry point to high end sound, and high street looks.

Build quality is immaculate. And If not, If per chance any part fails all the parts are replaceable.


99 Classic versus the 99 Neo visually.


A comparison of the packaging between the Meze 99 Classics and 99 Neo.


Meze gave me a woody.


Old and new pads.

The new pads have a larger circumference and fit more comfortably over a more varied size of ears, also they are slightly thicker/higher.





Simply stunningly gorgeous in looks and sound.


The 99 Neo has some a dampener, the newer 99 Classic also have the dampener over the headphone speaker....mine does not `insert sad face emoji`. So whilst my comparisons may be `close enough`, perhaps they aren`t exact due the lack of dampeners.


Overall

The Meze 99 Neo are a great complement to its older sibling the Meze 99 Classic and both echo the sonics of the earphone series which also match up wood against synthetic materials.

Isolation is very good, so its handy for about town or commuting.
Slight micro phonics with the cable, but not really noticeable unless one is jumping about.

They are very easy to drive at 26ohms which is less than the 99 Classics.

I found the 99 Neo performed well when fed to the Opus#2 , but very much enjoyed them when paired with the more neutral Opus#1 which tamed some of the low end.

There isnt much between the Neo 99 and the 99 Classics being fairly near identical in build.
The 99 Neo has more bass, but not in a bass head sense, and also more mid heavy. Not to mention the obvious cup difference.

It seems to handle most genres well, and my usual shuffle test rendered no complains, its a good all rounder as head phone.

I recommend a more neutral dap to pair with the 99 Neo to bring out its best.

I could listen to Mazzy Star for instance for hours with these headphones.

Smexy, stylish, superb lows and super smooth highs and vocals.



Thank you to Meze for sending Head pie the Neo 99 headphones for review





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