If you’re looking for a new pair of headphones stick around with me for a few minutes to find out if the Meze 99 Neo headphones are right for you.
If you’ve never heard of Meze, they’re an audio company out of Romania who is focused on making high quality professional headphones for people who not only appreciate sound quality but also the aesthetics and design.
The Meze 99 Neo is a more affordable version of Meze’s higher end headphones called the 99 Classics. The 99 Neo headphones start at $249 while the 99 Classics are over $300. There are two main differences between the two. First, the 99 Neo ear cups are made of ABS plastic instead of the walnut wood ear cups on the 99 Classics. The other main difference is that the 99 Neo impedance is 26 ohms compared to 32 ohms on the 99 Classics. Fewer ohms means they require less power to deliver high audio levels. The sound is very similar between both models so if you don’t want to spend over $300 and you’re looking for something at $250 or under, the 99 Neo headphones are a great option.
This is the black and silver model of the 99 Neo so let’s open up the box and show you what you get. Inside there is a very convenient and protective hard-shell case with a zipper to keep it closed, inside the case there is the 99 Neo headphones themselves , and there’s a small pouch that contains two detachable Kevlar cables, one that is almost 4 feet long and one that is almost 10 feet long, along with two adapters, one being a 6.3mm gold-plated jack.
Let’s talk about the 99 Neo build quality. These are contemporary closed-back high-fidelity headphones. They feel very sturdy and you can see they are well designed. A polarizing feature for some will be the outer band that kind of sticks out a bit and could be a nuisance if you’re a tall person under a low ceiling like in the backseat of a car and the tops of the headphones were brushing the ceiling. However, they are made like this because they have a really nice self-adjusting headband which is designed to fit any head without having to deal with notches like the ones that are on my Audio Technica ATH-M50s. The 99 Neo headphones are a bit tighter on the sides of my head than my ATH-M50s but that’s probably because they’re just newer and have been worn a lot less. But the soft cushioned ear pads which are made of medium density memory foam are very comfortable and I can wear these for hours without getting a headache or anything like that. They do have a fairly tight seal so they help drown out any noise on the outside and you definitely feel like you’re in your own head, and if I do wear them for hours I can feel my ears start to get sweaty. They’re definitely made of premium materials. One thing to note is that the ear cups cannot swivel like the ATH-M50s which would be handy if you want to listen to one ear cup DJ style but it doesn’t affect me since I don’t use them that way anyway.
Now let’s talk about the sound quality. I’m not an audiophile by any means. I mainly like to use over-ear headphones to edit the audio in my films and YouTube videos and to also listen to music on Spotify. Compared to the Audio Technica ATH-M50s which are probably the most popular professional headphones under $200 and have been my go-to headphones for the past few years, the 99 Neo headphones sound pretty much just as good. They produce very natural audio and they sound crisp with a clean full sound. I listened to Neutral Milk Hotel, and I was able to hear all the instruments in the songs, the slightest whistle that you may not hear over speakers is nice and clear through these headphones. It really makes the listening experience that much more enjoyable. The mids are clear, everything is balanced. However, the thing that jumped out to me at first listen was the bass is deep and powerful on the 99 Neo compared to my ATH M50s. That was the biggest difference for me. For the test I was listening to my favorite album of 2017 so far, Kendrick Lamar’s new album. The bass in those songs were booming on the 99 Neo headphones. It wasn’t distorted either, just very powerful so if that’s something you like in headphones, you’ll like definitely like these.
The Audio Technica ATH-M50s (which are now the M50X but I don’t have the newer model yet) are $100 cheaper than the Meze 99 Neo headphones, but they also look like it too. They’re very plasticky. If you have a budget below $200 and you prefer headphones with just one cable coming out of an ear cup instead of the two that come out of the 99 Neo headphones, then I would suggest the Audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones. But if you like a slightly more powerful bass with the same audio quality with a more pleasing design and build, then check out the Meze 99 Neo headphones. Let me know what you think of these headphones in the comments below!