Meze 99 Neo Review Dual Sided Cable Headphones with Lohb Strap

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The 99 Neo brand is not the only thing that stands out from this pair of Meze headphones. Unlike most, which are flat backs, the backing on the Meze 99 Neo is conically shaped just like a speaker driver.
The 99 Neo have also detachable dual entry audio cables, which eliminates any potential crosstalk from ever occurring since the left and right channel wiring do not across through the headband. Another convenience of having dual sided cables, it's that you won't experience any annoying pulling to one side like you get with single sided headphones.
The base of the Meze 99 Neo earcups is is oval; hence the Meze 99 Neo earpads are oval in shape with an inner dimension of 6.5cm and 1.5cm depth above the driver, which is protected with a thin layer of fabric material. The outer height dimension of the earpads is 10cm and with soft pleather material covering the squishy memory foam padding.
You can easily drive the Meze 99 Neo via a smartphone, reaching very good audio dynamics (up to 103dB), thanks to the low impedance rating (26 ohms). The Meze 99 Neo deliver smooth treble with clean mid-range and pronounced deep bass that is always present no matter what genre of music you listen to.
The top of the Meze 99 Neo headband has a large but subtle 99 Neo brand etching. The headband itself does not create any hotspot on top of the head, thanks to the lohb suspension strap.
Compared to regular ones, lohb strap headphones fit much better and more comfortably even if you have an oddly shaped head because suspension straps don't have to clamp that hard. The Meze 99 Neo headband has a beveled design so it's wider at the top (6.5cm) and narrower towards the bottom end (3.5cm).
You can wear the Meze 99 Neo suspension strap on the head for longer periods without hurting the head because the weight of the headphones gets evenly distributed across the head. The Meze 99 Neo suspension strap really works well and can be adjusted to a maximum height of 4cm. The suspension headband looks stylish too with the support provided by the overhead metal bands, which have a 5cm spacing.
There is very little tension on the earcups because the suspension system on the Meze 99 Neo is anchored on the metal outer frame rather than on yokes like with some lohb suspension style headphones. The trade off though, it's that you can not rotate the earcups up and down. The Meze 99 Neo earcup pivot can be wiggled slightly but other than that, the earcups are very much fixed in place.
More Meze branding can be found on the anchor points, holding the plastic elastic band that suspends the headphones.
The anchor points are made of thick alloy metal and are attached to the metal bands via four small metal rivets. There is a larger rivet holding the earcup and more metal hardware along the perimeter of the earcup. The recessed audio ports also integrate reinforcement.
Accessories included are a plane adapter with gold plated contacts and a 3.5mm female to 6.5 mm male adapter. There is also one cable, which is Meze branded and measures 1.2 meters long. The braided section of the cable is 94cm long and runs all the way up to the Y-splitter.
Past the Y-splitter, the cabling has 33cm long rubber sleeves with an inline single button remote microphone unit, which is made of metal and features a single plastic button that controls calls (answer/end) and basic audio playback  functions (play/pause, skip to next and skip to previous). The remote is compatible with both Android and Apple devices with a 3.5mm jack socket.
The Meze 99 Neo cable terminals feature gold plated connectors attached to straight metal plugs and reinforced with rubber strain reliefs. The cable plugs have R/L markings, although interestingly enough the Meze 99 Neo earcups don't have any R/L markings. The cable weighs 24 grams.
Included also it's a Meze branded and molded hard-shell carrying case made with EVA padding and thick cloth fabric to protect it against scuffs and water. The hard-shell carrying case weighs 194 grams and has a small nylon webbing loop for hooking up the case on a stand or wall. The case also has dual metal zippers with long metal pullers that double as pull tabs.
While the hardshell case has a rugged outershell, it is not waterproof. It should offer good water resistance though from splashes on top but not along the zipper, which is made of thin fabric without any type of water repellent coating.
The hardshell case is internally lined with a felt fabric material which is soft and should prevent any scratching to the headphones. There aren't any internal compartments or mesh pockets but the case does come with a tub storage pouch made with coarser felt fabric. The pouch features a single zipper which opens around the top like a tin can.
In all, taking design and sound performance into consideration, the Meze 99 Neo are a nice alternative to those wanting the aesthetics of the Meze 99 Classics but without the higher price tag.
The Meze 99 Neo has a virtually identical design but with a hard plastic backing, making them a little more heavy (267 grams) than the Meze 99 Classics (260 grams). The Meze 99 Classics have a wooden backing, which makes them look more premium.
While the Meze 99 Neo and Meze 99 Classics have the same identical frame construction and style, the sound signature is noticeably different to the Meze Classics (at least with the pair reviewed in 2018). Those Meze 99 Classics delivered a more accurate vocal reproduction, making them ideal for studio mixing and audiophile enthusiast.
According to some sources though, the Meze Classics shipping today sound more similar to the 99 Neo but still less bassy; hence for true casual enjoyment, the Meze 99 Neo are a clear winner, making the sound come alive.
For gaming, the Meze 99 Neo are superb and you can use them for in-game chatting too, thanks to the built-in microphone on the cable.
The microphone has a clear pickup, especially since it dangles at jaw level really close to the mouth (approx. 8cm away).You can buy the Meze 99 Neo from Amazon and Meze Audio. Check out the review of the Meze 11 earbuds, Meze 12 earbuds, Rai Solo MMCX earphones and the new 12 Classics V2.

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