Meze Audio isn’t well known in gaming circles but they’ve definitely made the rounds in the audiophile community. Their headsets are known for the incredible sense of style, comfort, and fun sound profile. The Meze Audio 99 Neo is a refresh of the 99 Classic, complete with a new look and vastly reduced price but still featuring the same sound that made them a classic. Should these be your next pair of headphones? Join us as we find out.
- Current Price: $199.00
- Transducer size: 40mm
- Frequency response: 15Hz - 25KHz
- Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
- Impedance: 26 Ohm
- 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
- Weight: 250g
- Case: Hard EVA carrying pouch
- Cable: 1.5m thread Kevlar OFC with Mic and remote
- Adapter: 6.3mm gold-plated jack
- Cable pouch
If the name is new to you, don’t worry. Meze Audio is still fairly new to the industry, having formed in 2011 and releasing their first product 2015. That product, in fact, was the “Classic” version of the headphone we’re reviewing today. The original won multiple awards and gained a good amount of acclaim in the audiophile community as well. When Meze’s team reached out to me to see if we’d take a look at the 99 Neos, the Classics had still flown under my radar. The Empyreans, however, a $3000 statement headphone if ever I’ve seen one, certainly hadn’t, so I was curious to see what a more accessible headphone from Meze would deliver.
The big difference between the 99 Classics and the 99 Neos really comes down to color. The Classics featured a very classic walnut driver housing. The Neos, on the other hand, are a leather-textured mix of plastic and metal. The drivers and sound profile are the same - or so they say. Without the Classics to compare against, I can’t speak to what the wood housings may have done to the sound. Meze uses identical frequency response curves to describe the sound, however.
The 99 Neos are certainly a striking headphone. They look unlike any headphone I’ve ever seen. The mix of coal-black leather patterning with silver accents is very elegant, and the metal frame and suspension band definitely add to this look. You know those giant, black grand pianos you see in the movies in the halls of big mansions? The 99 Neos look like that but in headphone form. I almost feel like I should be dressing up just to wear them.
The headphones arrived well packaged. The box could easily be displayed if you’re into such things. Inside, the headphones are packaged inside a nice hardback case. The cables and 1/4-inch adapter come in a separate smaller zip pouch. Traveling with these headphones should be no problem at all. For $199, this is actually quite a nice touch as many other manufacturers content themselves with nylon or felt bags.
The headphones feature a nice self-adjusting suspension band. This eliminates any need for ratcheting earcup mechanisms and does a great job of distributing weight across your head without the need for a thick pad. I’m very sensitive to weight on my crown and quickly develop a sore spot when headphones lack padding or good weight distribution. That never happened here. I was able to wear these comfortably for hours. The trade-off is that they sit fairly loose. This has been true of every suspension-band headphone I’ve used and comes with the territory. Still, I prefer just a bit more grip than what the Meze 99 Neos offered.
The earpads are quite nice, however. Without the extra grip, they’re not the best at isolating sound but do a good job of keeping the bass prominent in the mix. If you’re using these for a mix of music, games, and movies, you’ll find a lot to love here thanks to the added low-end presence. I do wish they sealed a bit better, however, to really help isolate the content in the way these pads beg for.
The headphones also feature a detachable cable that connects into a pair of recessed ports on the sides of the housings. The cables have nice silver ends which match perfectly with the look of the headphone itself. It also features a microphone for taking calls when hooked up to your phone or PC.
The Meze 99 Neos have a warm richness to them. The bass is prominent but not overwhelming. I really liked using the 99s for my Chillstep mix I use to relax as they added a lot of depth to the bass synths. The sub-bass vibrations definitely enhance bass-heavy listening, though. Vocals sit touch further back but still come through very clear without any of the sharpness or sibilance than can often accompany hifi headphones. The middle-highs and treble being dialed down some make these a very easy listen even long stretches. In games, they won’t exactly make footsteps stand out, so I wouldn’t use these for competitive gaming. To have some fun with friends, though, they’re great and don’t hide detail like many consumer SkullCandy’s or Beats might.
At $199, the 99 Neos from Meze Audio come in more than $100 cheaper than the 99 Classics while offering the same sense of style and fun listening experience. I also really liked that I could wear them for extended periods of time without getting fatigued or sore. They have a unique sense of style that won’t appeal to everyone but are definitely unique, which counts for something when so many headphones wind up looking exactly the same. If you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones and are looking for something unique, these are definitely worth a closer look.
- Very unique look
- Comfortable over long-term listening and gaming sessions
- Fun tuning with solid bass and sub-bass
- Much more affordable than the 99 Classics
- Still rather pricey compared to competing headphones
- Style it unique but won’t appeal to everyone