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Meze 99 Neo: The Edgy Classic

 

Meze 99 Neo – Meze created an even less expensive version of 99 Classics. Coming with smooth and vivid sound, great textures and edgy looks, 99 Neo promises to bring the same sound we all love but with a redesigned look






 

Introduction


Meze 99 Neo is the new headphone, or rather a headphone with a twist from the Romanian headphone producer Meze. Meze created 99 Neo as a less expensive version of 99 Classics with plastic cups instead of wood that would appeal to those who prefer the black “edgy” looks of the ABS cups over the wooden 99 Classics. 99 Neo uses the same driver as 99 Classics, but there are a few changes here and there, like the cable included with the headphone being different (99 Neo comes with the microphone cable only) and the case is now made of a fabric woven material rather than the leathery smooth case of 99 Classics.

 


99 Neo is brought to this reviewer as a part of 99 Neo tour, organized by Meze Audio Romania. This is an honest review and there is no incentive provided, the headphone will be sent forward after the review is completed and this is a review made for fun and for giving an impression.
 
 
About me
 
Hey there! My name is George and my friends say that I enjoy music. Some might even say that I live through music! I’d probably say that music is what made me who I am today, part of my DNA already!
 
My listening habits can be erratic, but they do include listening to music for hours on a row, listening to music while out and about, and listening to music while working.
 
Music has always been my sweet companion and it is always there when I’m working on the games of my company,  https://www.facebook.com/seventh.heart.studios/  and  https://twitter.com/7heartstudios . We invite you to check our projects and we guarantee that if you like Visual Novels and games, you’re going to have a great time!
 
My hearing works well in the higher registers, the 8-18kHz area being quite important for me, but recently I noticed that I’m slightly sensitive to harshness in the treble. I am unbiased towards headphones and companies, but I’m considerably hard to impress since I own ie800 which are a formidable pair of End-Game, Top of The Line IEMs.


 
 
 
First Impression
 

 

 

Since hearing 99 Classics, I was actually enthused by Meze’s interaction with customers and I had a few requests for them which were fulfilled nice and fast. I would say that Meze as a company is great and their customer support works well. I even needed a cable and it was shipped really fast, was well packaged and arrived really fast!

99 Neo packaging was thought pretty well as it comes in a cardboard box padded with a sponge to keep the other hard carry box safe. 99 Neo sits comfortably inside the hard carry box, which has a similar interior design to 99 Neo, the only changes seeming to be on the outer layer of the carry box.

 

 
Fast forward things, I was alone in my room with 99 Neo, admiring the great job Meze did with the looks. First time using 99 Neo, it sounds somehow similar to 99C, but somehow different at the same time. There is something about 99 Neo that changed in its sound, but it is pretty hard to name. The bass is strong and hits deep, the treble is clear and smooth and the mids are in their own place with a lush / thick tonality.
 
All in all, 99 Neo sounds good at first audition, but, as it is recommended, they were placed in a burn-in session, using pink and white noise to ensure that the results are going to be consistent. Some changes for the better were noticed with burn-in, especially in voice tonality and clarity. The signature is close to HD650 from Sennheiser and somehow to NightHawks with 99 Neo having a better texture and instrument definition. 99 Neo also has a considerably better top end as it is not rolled off and sounds crisp and clean. The soundstage of 99 Neo is similar in size to HD650 and Nighthawks.
 


Meze has lowered the price with 99 Neo since there is no more wood included in the build, so 99N goes for around 250$ instead of the 300$ of 99C. Given the difference in price going downwards, 99 Neo will be more accessible to someone looking for a Meze sound but who’s on a tight budget, although given the difference, I think that both models are fairly accessible to any enthusiast or casual listener.
 
 
 
Packaging
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
99N comes in the cardboard box with a sleek design and a few bits of data about 99 Neo on the outside. Inside the cardboard box, you will find the hard carry case. Inside the hard carry case, you will find the headphones, cables for them, an airplane adapter (I think?), a pouch for the cables and a 3.5mm to 6.3mm golden plug adapter. The addition of the plug adapter is most welcome, but it should be noted that 99 Neo does not come with two cables. Regardless of that, I have been able to enjoy 99 Neo to the fullest with the provided cable. The short cable comes with a rubber termination upwards of the Y split, making things even better for those who complained about cable noise and microphonics, since the rubber termination effectively nullifies the microphonics of the cable. The short cable has a remote with one button that can execute multiple actions (depending on the number of presses) and a microphone to use 99N with your phone. I have been able to carry phone conversation with the provided cable, and the person on the other end actually told me that the voice comes through pretty clear and they could understand me well.
 
The fabric woven hard case is pretty sturdy as it didn’t get damaged from being in my backpack with various supplies. The material of the case is not scratch prone and it doesn’t look like it would get damaged easily, given that I held it in my backpack together with pens and a few sharp tools. The zippers work smooth and leave the impression of a high-end product and the inside of the case is padded with a fine material that will protect 99N against scratches. The case itself is pretty sturdy, so it can safely be thrown in a backpack and even placed under a few lighter things without any damage being done to the headphones. The cables of 99 Neo need to be disconnected before they are placed in the case (Just like 99 Classics).
 
Comparing the cases of 99 Neo and 99 Classics:
 


Meze 99 Neo:
 
 
 
Meze 99 Classics:
 

 

 
 
 
99 C comes with a case that has a different texture on the outside, but it seems to be similarly sturdy and provides the same level of protection against scratches on the inside. The main difference seems to be the external material
 
Other comparisons
 
Ultrasone DJ1P comes with a considerably bulkier case, being bigger than the headphones themselves, but offering a good protection as well. 99N offers better ergonomics of the case, using very little extra space. The woven fabric is slightly different between the two, but the inside works out on both.
 
Sennheiser HD380Pro comes with a different storage mechanism entirely, its case being flat but wide. It offers less protection than the case of 99N due to the design, and HD380Pro should never be placed under heavy things.  
 
The set of accessories included with 99 Neo are the essentials to use the headphones, although the long cable can be purchased from Meze’s site. Seems that Meze will also introduce a balanced cable for 99N and 99C later this year, as they promised a few times.
 


This pair of 99N is a pre-production, review tour unit, so the contents of the box might slightly differ. The booklet included with 99 Neo seems to be different from the one included with 99 Classics, the white booklet from 99C being replaced by a colored one that includes a little history of Meze Audio. Since the booklet included that “99 Neo promises to deliver the same audio quality as 99 Classics”, I’m going to test this statement on the audio part of the review.
 
 
 
Technical Specifications
 
Impedance
32 ohm
Connector
3.5 mm
Rated Input Power
30 mW
Frequency Response
15 Hz – 25kHz
Sensitivity
103dB (1kHz, 1mW)
Ear coupling
Circum-Aural
Cable length
1.2m, 3m
Transducer type
Dynamic transducer, closed back
Power (load rating)
50mW
Weight without cable
260g
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
<0.03% (1kHz, 1Vrms)
Contact pressure
3.4 N approx.
 
(Build Quality, Sonic Quality & Usage Next Page)
 

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