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MEZE 99 NEO Review – CRAFTY FUN

Meze Audio is a high-end audio company based in Baia Mare, Rome, producing a wide range of audiophile grade headphones and earphones with high precision engineering. Their products are known for its warm sound with their handmade craftsmanship which brings the exquisite design language and premium feel to their audio gears. Their flagship product named Empyrean Phoenix is one of a kind and I hope their 99 neo will stand to their brand image.

SPECIFIACTIONS:

Transducer size: 40mm

Frequency response: 15Hz – 25KHz

Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW

Impedance: 26 Ω

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

PACKAGING:

The box is pretty big with the image of the headphone printed on the front with the specs mentioned on the back. The box is a slip on package and after opening a big carry case is placed and inside that the headphone is present. Along with the headphone there is a small carry pouch which has the 3.5mm terminated cable and 6.3mm gold plated jack is also present to use it along with high end amplifiers. 

The carry case is built very sturdy and is a hard EVA pouch. It’s designed to accommodate the headphones accurately and can withstand some shock when dropped on the floor.

DESIGN:

Just beautiful! The 99 series are hand built and the design is not common. The headbands are designed in a way that we don’t need to adjust them manually to fit our heads. They get automatically adjusted by the use of elastic bands. Cast zinc alloy hardware with electroplated coating, stamped manganese spring steel headband, memory foam and soft PU leather are premium materials to be found here as well. As the Neo shares the DNA of the Classics, we guarantee that the 99’s are serviceable if any parts ever need to be replaced.

The ear cups has the black textured finish which is very soft to touch and the all black theme with the hint of silver trim gives the sense of premium feel to the headphones. 

FIT:

The ear cups are oval shaped and the pads are very soft. Even though they are soft they are shallow and not deep hence some might find the ears to be touching the driver every time. The pressure distribution is done well here where the total 260gm weight is nicely distributed all over the head. Even after wearing for long listening periods they is no sense of discomfort until you use them in a colder environment. With warm surroundings the pads gets warm very quickly and you can literally feel the warmness in your ears. 

SOUND:

Meze is known for its warm sound signature which most people like and is done in this some good way. 

Source:

iPhone XR + Apple 3.5mm lightning dongle

Since this is only rated as 26ohms and having higher sensitivity it is very easy to drive via the smart phone.

BASS:

The strong aspect of this headphone is the bass. There is enough quantity of bass with nice sub bass extension. The rumble in the sub bass and the slam in the mid bass region is felt evidently. Though the bass quantity is more the definition and the texture is slightly lacking. The bass some times over shadows the details and sounds muffled

In the bass light tracks they sound nice and good with good low end presence but when the bass heavy tracks starts playing the bass tends to gets muffled and bloated due to excessive mid bass compared to the sub bass. The slam of the bass over powers the rumble hence they feel slightly bloated when comes to busy tracks.

The overall weight is nice and good but the texture is what lacks and that extra refinement in the bass could have made this headphone a notch better.

TRACKS USED:

  1. Anywhere I Am – Mats & Rvmor

The bass is really sweet here. The drums sound deep and can feel the low end rumble. At 2:10 the sub bass presence can be felt nice and very tight. The background instruments sounds muffled since the bass is excessive.

  1. Tron Legacy – Overtune

Tron legacy soundtracks are the best tracks to test out the bass definition and the quantity. The bass is presented well in this headphone with good sub bass extension and the background details can be heard since the track is not a busy one. At 1:38 the sub bass strikes and it sounds sweet.

MIDS:

Since this being L shaped signature the vocals are slightly distant and not forward. Nevertheless they sound smooth and no harshness is felt. Both the male and the female vocals sounds smooth and has that body due to the mid bass presence

Since there is a good amount of mid bass the vocals sounds warm enough and gives the girth and body to the music which is a welcome package. As the track gets busier the excessive mid bass becomes a biggest con where they start to bleed into the mids. As long as the track never gets busier the mids sounds nice and sweet. For most part in my opinion this headphone handles the mids well.

Tracks Used:

  1. Love Story –  Taylor Swift

The vocal sounds smooth and well bodied. No peak or harshness is felt during my listening experience. At 1:04 as the track becomes very busier the mid bass struggles to cope up with the vocals, background instruments, they start to get muffled. 

As for as the rest of the track goes they sound very nice and smooth. They are very nice for casual listening and fun listening too. 

  1. Believe in Life – Eric Clapton

The male vocal sounds nice and smooth with no harshness. They sound as natural as possible. 

HIGHS:

The highs definitely smoothed out a lot. They sound fine for casual listening but if you are into analytical listening then this will not suit you. There is a roll off in the treble section and the brilliance in the high region is not good enough. People who are prone to sensitive highs will definitely love this headphone since it’s relaxed and smooth.

Tracks used:

  1. Lonesome Lover – Max Roach

Here the trumpet doesn’t sound rich. They sound smoother but lack brilliance. The sparkle is missing and gives very relaxed listening experience.

  1. Terry’s Song – Bruce Springsteen

The guitar strikes nice and sweet. The smoothness gives the sense of relaxed bed time listen which some people will definitely love it. Overall they sound nice but the bass being the dominant here some lack of details is seen. The harmonica sounds well bodied and smooth which is very nice for casual listening.

SOUNDSTAGE AND IMAGING:

The soundstage is average considering the closed back type. Overall a good staging and the background instruments are felt clearly. The deep bass impact creates that sense of expansive soundstage.

The width, depth and the height all are normal and not as big as open back headphones.

Tracks Used:

  1. Hotel California

At the initial part of the track the guitar sounds sweet and the background instruments are separated out clearly. As the track continues they sound a lot sweeter and relaxed. 

  1. Hideaway – Jacob Collier

Has the same staging as a budget range in ear monitors. The instruments sound nicer and can be felt separately without any clubbing.

The imaging is also spot on. The object sweeps from extreme left to the extreme right. 

Track Used:

  1. Crossing – Yosi Horikawa

The movement of the auto can be felt nice where it moves side to side. Overall they have good imaging. 

VERDICT:

Meze 99 Neo is a good sounding headphone with interesting design and fabulous craftsmanship. From the packaging to the end product they are done with high precision. The sound signature being L shaped will satisfy the needs of a casual bass head. They have nice warm sound with lush mids and average treble. 

If you like the warm sound with good bodied vocals and a relaxed treble then this is really a gem considering the build and fit of it. They are well constructed with awesome fit. The retail price is 200 USD which is quite expensive considering the competitors providing planar and open back headphone but if you really admire the craftsmanship and the warm relaxed sound then this is the one to get in this price range.

PROS AND CONS:

Pros:

  1. L shaped sound with lush mid
  2. Beautifully crafted with nice carry pouch
  3. Ergonomics
  4. Natural Tonality

Cons:

  1. Too relaxed treble and lack of brilliance
  2. Bass Bleed

This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C

KATHIRAVAN

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I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.

Shubham Garg (Editor Shubz.in) is an engineer with a specialization in Mechanical Engineering from AKTU, Uttar Pradesh. Being a mechanical engineer he has always loved to learn the inner working of various machines and consumer electronics. He regularly tests various audio, home appliances, and daily use products, to provide the best advice to readers. He is a wizard that can make your shopping easy, saving you time and stress of figuring out what to buy.

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