Meze is known for building luxury. We took a look earlier at their 99 Classic headphones, which got some pretty great reviews. The 99 Classics, however, aren’t Meze’s only headphones — the company also has some earbuds — the Meze 11 Neo earbuds.
But do the 11 Neo’s live up to the Meze name? We took them for a spin to find out just how well they stood up to their over-ear counterparts.
There aren’t that many ways you can mix up the design of earbuds, but as far as earbuds go, Meze has done pretty well, especially when it comes to attention to detail. The in-ear units themselves are stylish and minimalistic, featuring one single color throughout the whole unit save from the Meze logo, which appears in a simple white on the back of the earbud.
Even the cable feels premium. It’s coated in plastic, but underneath the cable is made from 7N oxygen-free copper wire. The plastic is clear, so you can see the braided wire underneath, making it look a lot stronger than it probably really is. Keep that in mind — you’ll want to use the carrying case with these puppies to prevent suffering from earbud-in-the-backpack syndrome. That carrying case is pretty decent quality — it’s a clam-shell style case, and should offer protection from most knocks and scratches.
As far as in-ears go, these are relatively comfortable. You’ll really want to spend a few minutes finding the best eartips for your tastes — we ended up choosing the memory foam comply tips, which mould around your ear shape and provide an ear canal seal. While trying out different tips, we did have a few issues with the earbuds falling out, however that stopped happening when we slotted the comply tips on instead. Even with the comply tips, however, these aren’t running headphones — if you’re very active while using these, you’ll probably have more issues with the earbuds falling out.
As is the case with most in-ears and earbuds, if you spend hours on end listening to music, the will get uncomfortable. We’ve found that most in-ears offer waves of comfort — when you first slot them in, they’ll be noticeable for a few minutes, after which they’ll get a lot more comfortable and you may forget they’re there. Then, after a few hours, they’ll get uncomfortable once again. That’s probably your cue to take a break from listening. In general, the Meze 11 Neo in-ears are pretty comfortable, but get uncomfortable after long periods of listening, just like any other earbud or in-ear.
When trying on a pair of earbuds or in-ears for the first time, there isn’t the same expectation of sound quality as there is when wearing headphones. These, however, might surprise you.
Meze rates the earbuds as offering a frequency response of 16Hz – 24kHz, and while that may be true in the lab, we experienced more of a 20Hz – 18kHz frequency response. Of course, it’s important to note that the range of human hearing starts at 16Hz, so it’s totally possible we just couldn’t hear the range of the headphones.
In general, these in-ears offer an excellent sound quality, especially for the price. They offered a little more high end than the MEE Audio X7 Plus in-ears we recently tested, while still boasting plenty of bass for the bass-lovers out there. We would have liked if they went even a step further and brought in more high-end — we suspected there was a bit of a high-end frequency dip, a suspicion that was confirmed with Meze’s 11 Neo frequency curve. With more high-end, music would be slightly more exciting — you would hear those cymbals a little better, vocals would be clearer, and strings would be a little more cutting.
Again, that’s not to say that these earbuds sound bad — they don’t. They sound better than a lot of other earbuds you’ll find out there, especially at this price.
With a beautiful design, a reasonably high comfort level, and a great sound, these in-ears are a great choice. Not that we didn’t expect that — Meze is building a name for itself by creating top-quality headphones — we first saw that with the Meze 99 Classics, but the 11 Neo’s continue that tradition. With a price tag of only $59, if you’re looking for a new pair of in-ears for the day-to-day, these might be the right ones for you.
|Frequency response||16Hz – 24,000Hz||Noise attenuation||<26dB|
|Driver size||8mm||In-line controls||Yes|
|Rated impedance||16Ω||Earpad material||Rubber or memory foam|
|Total harmonic distortion||<0.5%||Magnet material||Unknown|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Water resistance||No|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Battery life||N/A|
|Wireless connection||No||Wireless distance||N/A|
|Wired connection||Yes, 3.5mm||Cable length||1.2m (3.9ft)|
|Detachable cable||No||Case type||Hard case|
|Weight||113g (4oz)||In-the-box||Hard case, three sets of rubber tips, one set of comply memory foam tips|
|Active noise cancellation||No||Colors||Gun metal, iridium|