Meze is a boutique headphone maker that started getting the attention of headphone-lovers around the world when it launched the Meze 99 Classic headphones, a pair of beautifully crafted wooden headphones that happened to also sound pretty good. They did well in our review last year, but Meze is now here with a follow-up — the Meze 99 Neo.
The Meze 99 Neo headphones keep the same overall design as the 99 Classics, but replace the wooden build with a plastic and metal build. But how do they perform? We put them to the test to find out.
As mentioned, the Meze 99 Neo headphones keep the same overall format as the 99 Classic’s, which we think is a good thing. Not only that, but the design is quite minimalistic — you won’t find any headband adjusters or fancy buttons here. Instead, the size of the headphones adjust elastically automatically — and the result is quite a comfortable pair of headphones.
As was the case with the 99 Classics, Meze has obviously put in a lot of attention to detail. The cables, for example, are made from Kevlar rather than just plastic, making them much stronger than your average headphone cable.
The ear cups themselves are built from ABS plastic, and while you might be put off by the word “plastic,” they seem very strong. The plastic is textured, which helps give it a more premium feel — kind of like leather.
Holding the ear cups together is a nice strong metal frame, which is somewhat large but still strong and decent-looking. The frame definitely adds some bulk, but these aren’t headphones you probably would have taken out and about anyway — so it might not be much of an issue.
In the box, you’ll get a nice strong case, along with a little pouch for the cable, 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch adapter, and airplane adapter. It fits nicely into the case, meaning all you have to carry around if you do take these on the go is one single package with everything inside.
In general, we love the design of the headphones. While it’s not quite as unique as the wood on the Meze 99 Classic, they still look great — and somewhat more sleek.
The headphones don’t just look good — they’re pretty comfortable too. As mentioned, the headband adjusts automatically, and the results speak for themselves. There’s no need to put tons of padding on the headband here — the headband sits perfectly. There’s also plenty of padding in the ear cups, and the clamp isn’t overly tight.
Perhaps the only real downside there is to the comfort level is that they can get a little warm after long periods of listening. Now, that really was only an issue for us when it was an already really warm day — and when it was cool out it was actually kind of nice. Plus, it’s not like they’re mini-heaters — they just get slightly warm.
In general, however, these headphones are extremely comfortable — more so than the vast majority of headphones we test.
Design and comfort are important enough, but most important is how the headphones sound. Thankfully, they sound pretty good — but they’re not perfect.
The bass on the headphones is nice and powerful, with kick drums offering a nice deep punch and bass guitars sounding very smooth. The bass does sound a little unfocused — but not enough to be a major issue for us.
The mid-range sounds good, but there are a ton of low-mids — enough to where the music sounds slightly muddy at times. Part of that carries over from the unfocused low-end, and together the lows and low-mids somewhat detract from the high-end. There also seems to be a slight cut in the high-mids, which helps accentuate the lows. The low-mid boost and high-mid cut isn’t unbearable — and the headphones still sound quite good, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re considering buying them.
The high frequencies sound good, but they’re also cut compared to the lows. We liked how they were tuned — generally cymbals sounded pretty clear, but there just wasn’t enough of them.
The stereo separation on the headphones is good, and they didn’t distort easily without overly loud and unsafe volumes.
The Meze 99 Neo headphones have a lot to offer, but as is the case with most things, they’re not perfect. They’re well-designed, very comfortable, and sound generally good — but the low-mids need to be a little more tamed before we can call them truly amazing.
Still, they have a lot going for them — like the fact that they’re more than $50 cheaper than the 99 Classics. At $249, however, they have some competition — like the Blue Lola headphones, which scored slightly better overall in our review.
Because the Meze 99 Neo headphones have so much to offer, they’ve been awarded the Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|Frequency response||15Hz – 25kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||40mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Sensitivity||103dB||Earpad material||Memory Foam|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
|Maximum input power
||No||Cable length||1.2m (4ft)|
||Yes||Case type||Hard case|