Official Review: MEZE 99 Neo Headphones (Hardware)

By Ben Sellwood, Jan 2, 2020 (updated Jan 2, 2020) 1,189 0 1

Review Approach:

Screwface DNB audiophile with a lit AF tracklist.
Having listened to music since the mid 90s I have acquired quite an affinity for wanting, quite simply, awesome-sounding music. Does the super contemporary MEZE 99 Neo provide this? I'm excited to find out!
Ben Sellwood

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MEZE Audio is a Romanian based company founded in 2011 by Antiono Meze with some incredibly vivid and immersive visions paired with an exceptional passion for making what they aspire to be the best of the best. This thoroughbred drive and determination is shared by all of the MEZE employees which are comprised of quality-obsessed engineers, musicians and artists. With an ethos that follows meticulous development processes to produce durable and refined yet mature products, they offer an uncompromised sound that delivers clarity, balance, harmony and a promise to minimise fatigue over long sessions.

Technical Specifications:
  • Transducer type: 40mm Dynamic Neomidium / Mylar
  • Frequency response: 15Hz-25KHz
  • Sensitivity 103Db (1kHz/1mW)
  • Impedance: 26 Ohm
  • Rated input power: 30mW (50mW max)
  • Cable: 1.5m kevlar OFC with microphone
  • Adaptors: 6.3mm gold-plated jack / 2 x 3.5mm travel adaptor)
  • Case: Hard EVA carrying pouch
  • Weight: 260g

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Upon first inspection, these matte-black headphones look absolutely stunning. Every millimetre has clearly been engineered with a specific aesthetic in mind and as a result, the final build quality is unwavering in style and substance. The fatigue resistant chromium-manganese alloy spring steel headband gives structural support across the top while the self-adjusting PU headband slides the cups down your temple and almost perfectly over your ears with an incredibly satisfying ear encapsulating fit. It's as if these were engineered for my ears and that is an incredibly a rare feeling these days especially with audio equipment being mass-produced and churned out for the masses. MEZE Audio have clearly gone down their own route when considering comfort and style as well as audio clarity and have pulled out all the stops for their 2017 99 Neo. In the box, you get a hard EVA case, a soft case which houses the 1.5m cable and two adaptors (one for travel and one for 6.3mm fittings), a couple of stickers, and an operating manual which reminds you not to decimate your eardrums with overly loud music. The inclusion of the travel case is always a welcomed aspect as many headsets and headphones these days do not include anything for you to protect and store them in, so hats off to MEZE for that inclusion, they have thought of virtually everything! The included 1.5m cable, however, seems a little short to me, and I wish they had included a couple of different length cables to give it a little more room to manoeuvre, but I guess it has ample length if you are simply using on the go or even plugging into your controllers or portable consoles. For desk use and beyond, 4ft is just not enough for my liking. Browsing their corporate site allows you to find suitable accessories and interestingly enough the only one for the 99 series that is on special (at the time of writing) is the 2.5m balanced upgrade cable at $49 down from $98 thanks to a 50% off promotion. Considering the MEZE 99 Neo headset's RRP $249.99 on their site it means the cable accounts for 40% of the cost of the headset at retail thanks to precision-engineered, TRRS balanced, silver-plated, oxygen-free high purity OFC copper construction and silver plating, which definitely rationalises why there aren't other cables included in the box somewhat.

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I wanted to give this headset a thorough testing and ran it through a series of sound range tests, a slew of "dutty" drum and bass tracks, and a barrage of games, videos, and even making a call with it via my iPhone and throughout this unit delivered truly superb almost unparalleled sound. So much so I could easily see myself using these on a daily basis, however the omission of an in-line volume adjustment button is strange; I would have thought a small mute would be quite useful. Instead you only find an oddly positioned play/pause button along the cabling at about your jaw level, something that perhaps makes sense for the microphone positioning, with the caveat of losing track of where it is and having to fumble about to pause or resume your favourite music on the go. Holding the button down brings up Siri which is pretty common amongst inline remotes these days and handy for making calls or enquiries on the go. These are definitely a "hipster" oriented, neo-traditional piece of kit, but for me they're just not quite there in terms of features I require for day-to-day use, which is a shame as these are aesthetically and audibly fantastic on most fronts.

The sound is beautifully warm and smooth, I cannot express this enough. These headphones are crisp and clean in every respect, and throughout some exhaustive and thorough testing I noticed absolutely zero crackles or fuzzing, which is a sure sign of incredible engineering. There is however something ever-so-slightly lacking in the mid-range that causes me to reach for the EQ settings on each device to try ramp up the middling tones a little to make it a bit more punchy, more fuller, more to my exacting audio preferences. MEZE's contemporary styling and build also claims to have balanced the 99 Neo for use with modern digital audio products (DAPs) so you automatically get the best out of your device in terms of clarity and response, which you can definitely tell they have done due to this headset favouring EDM massively over other genres such as rock or anything vocal-heavy. It's a matter of personal preference really, and it comes down to how you like hearing your favourite tracks at the end of the day, but don't forget there is always a way to modify EQ balance on most modern DAPs to tweak your experience, a lot of people forget this.

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The build quality of this unit is exquisite and throughout the entire time spent testing this to its limits I experienced no discomfort whatsoever, even after endless hours of use, which is a testament to the engineering prowess of the team responsible for these headphones. The memory foam cups definitely do their part in holding your ear central to the drivers and maintaining balanced pressure in each ear. I can't think of many headsets I have used that I can honestly say this about.

Links:

Official Site

2.5m additional Cable

Verdict
What We Liked . . . Exquisite design and manufacturing which clearly spares no expense Insanely comfortable and fits your form perfectly Excellent range response, specifically for bass and treble What We Didn't Like . . . Mid-range tonality feels a little lacking 1.5m cable is too short for desk use
9.2
out of 10
Overall
I love the look and feel of these headphones, they fit me incredibly well, they sound great and they're aesthetically and technically sleek and gorgeous. There are a few minor things I would change, such as perhaps the inclusion of a longer cable or an additional cable, and the overwhelming need to adjust the EQ of my phone, purely to get that slight mid boost I felt was lacking from my tracklist through this review. Other than that the sound never crackles, produces huge sounding bass-heavy music which you cannot quibble with, it's a stunning set of headphones with an incredible amount of vibrancy and character.
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