Meze has been kind enough to lend me a pair of the 99 Neo for review; priced at 250USD, I like it, despite a couple small flaws. Being a closed full-size headphone with an impedance of 26 ohms and a sensitivity of 103dB/mW, they are clearly designed to be used on the go, and will be reviewed based on their performance driven from my iPhone 6S.
Included with the headphones themselves is a portably short cable with a 1 button remote, a quarter inch adapter, an airline adapter, and a fantastic travel case. The removable cable attaches to the headphones via dual 3.5mm mono connectors. The cable feels fantastically built, being kevlar-reinforced below the y-split, and flowing nicely, with no kinks or bends. Above the very nice y-split, the cable becomes rubbery, but remains very straight. The headphones themselves feel quite solid, with two metal bands as a headband structure, and sturdy black plastic cups. The headband itself is an AKG-esque suspension strap, with a little bit of padding, which leaves the top of your head without any undue pressure. The earpads are made of a supple memory-foam filled pleather, which my only complaint against is that they are just a little bit too shallow, causing my ears to press up against the plastic behind the pads, which can get painful after a while. I have heard of people putting HM5 pads on these, which would certainly fix this singular comfort issue, however, as to not risk damaging the earpads, I did not try this. The case is quite solid, and presents Meze’s stylish logo beautifully. The case is solid enough that I would trust it to keep the 99 Neos safe even when haphazardly thrown into a bag. Overall, this is a well built product, which feels like it would easily last for many years.
The sound of the 99 Neos is decidedly warm in tonality, with a downward slope throughout the sound. Bass gets a a definitive lift in its entirety, though it does not overpower the rest of the track. I would not call it muddy, but it certainly lacks a little bit of definition, though it remains pleasant. The midrange also sounds pleasant, perhaps being this headphone’s strongest point, with a gentle lift in the lower midrange relative to the upper mids, leaving them sounding relatively relaxed. Though, while relaxed, the midrange also sounds impressively clean. Vocals sound very accurate and defined, and plenty present, and never lost behind the bass. Instruments sound nicely defined, though slightly less than natural. The treble, while a little recessed, sounds plenty fast and detailed. Like the mids, the treble also sounds very clean. There seems to be a peak in the low to mid treble region, though this does not offend, instead bringing a bit more life to the sound. Soundstage, as these are closed, is not very wide, but is certainly wide enough that nothing sounds congested, and leaves enough room for the imaging, which is quite good. All in all, the sound of these is excellent, with little fault.
Now, there is one more issue I have with these, and that is noise. These make noise, or, rather, the headband makes noise when it moves. Whenever any part of the headband, save the pleather strap, is touched, its vibration is heard by the wearer. When you wear these, and are walking, the strap moves slightly, and this, too, is audible, if quieter than the headband noise. This issue, however, is far from a deal breaker, as it is not very loud.
If Meze could fix the noise issue, and make the pads a little bit deeper, these would be nearly perfect for the price. These are going to be my go-to recommendation anywhere near this price point for a full-sized closed headphone.