Home Headphone Comparisons Meze 99 Neo vs. Classic: Where Sonic Paths Diverge, Elegance Converges

Meze 99 Neo vs. Classic: Where Sonic Paths Diverge, Elegance Converges

by Stuart Charles Black
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Note: I’ve demoed both of these, but only have images for the 99 Neo as of now. The classic was demoed at Audio Advice.

Also thank you to Meze Audio for sending the 99 Neo!

Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

Today, we’re diving deep into the melodious world of headphones as we unravel the differences and nuances between two headphones from the Meze lineup: the 99 Neo and the 99 Classic.

So, grab a snack, sit back, and relax homie – you’re in the right place.

Trust me. xD

Design and Build Quality

Meze 99 Neo Review

Let’s start with the aesthetics.

Both the Meze 99 Neo and Classic boast an impressive blend of style and substance, but they take slightly different paths to achieve their unique personalities.

The Meze 99 Neo rocks a sleek and modern design, embracing a more contemporary appeal with its minimalist matte black finish and smooth curves.

The lightweight construction and flexible headband make these headphones a breeze to wear for extended periods, ensuring comfort doesn’t take a back seat.

One of the standout features of its construction is the use of high-quality materials that contribute to its lightweight yet sturdy build.

The ear cups are made from a combination of ABS plastic and aluminum, ensuring durability without unnecessary weight.

This is a plus for those who often wear headphones for extended periods, as the lightweight design reduces fatigue on the head and neck.

The headband of the 99 Neo is reinforced with a steel frame, providing structural integrity and flexibility.

The adjustable headband is covered with a faux leather material, which not only adds to the aesthetics but also enhances comfort during wear.

The metal accents on the ear cups, along with the matte finish, give the headphones a modern and premium look that’s in line with contemporary design trends.

Meze 99 Classic

Meze 99 Neo Review

Contrasting with the Neo, the Meze 99 Classic takes a different approach, embracing a more timeless and vintage-inspired design.

The highlight of its construction is undoubtedly the real walnut wood ear cups.

The use of wood not only adds a touch of luxury but also contributes to the headphones’ acoustic properties by providing a natural resonance that influences the sound profile – particularly for genres like acoustic and classical music.

The metal construction of the headband ensures durability, and the genuine leather headband and ear pads add a touch of elegance and comfort.

It’s worth noting that due to the wooden ear cups, the Classic might be slightly heavier than the Neo.

While this might not be a deal-breaker for many, it’s something to consider if you prioritize an ultra-lightweight feel.

In terms of construction, both headphones have their unique strengths.

The Meze 99 Neo offers a contemporary design with a focus on lightweight materials and modern aesthetics.

It’s a great choice for those who prefer a comfortable and unobtrusive feel during prolonged listening sessions.

On the other hand, the Meze 99 Classic’s wooden construction exudes a sense of old-world charm and luxury.

Your choice between the two could come down to your style preferences, as well as considerations like weight, comfort, and the visual statement you want to make while wearing them.

Both models undoubtedly showcase Meze’s commitment to quality materials and craftsmanship, ensuring that whichever you choose, you’re getting a well-constructed and visually pleasing pair of headphones.

But hold on there, cowboy. Don’t go buying headphones based on looks.

Just hold tight and we’ll dissect the sound in a jiffy.

Isolation and Comfort

Meze 99 Neo Review

In the hustle and bustle of life, sometimes we just want to escape into our own auditory world.

Both headphones offer decent noise isolation, but the Meze 99 Neo takes a slight lead in this department.

The closed-back design and plush ear pads create a solid seal, effectively blocking out external noise.

However, don’t write off the 99 Classic – it still holds its own, providing a respectable level of isolation.

As for comfort, both headphones excel, but it’s a matter of personal preference.

The 99 Neo’s lightweight build and slightly softer ear pads might be more comfortable for longer listening sessions, especially if you’re on the move.

On the other hand, the 99 Classic’s weightier feel might appeal to those who appreciate a more substantial and grounding fit.

At the end of the day, these are pretty minuscule differences as I found both headphones to be pretty similar with regard to their comfort levels.

Both can be worn for long periods of time, and both feel exceptional on your head.

So no worries there.

Sound is where things get a bit dicey. Let’s dive in.

Sound Quality

Meze 99 Neo Review

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – the sound quality.

The Meze 99 Neo showcases a sound profile that caters to the modern music aficionado.

Its bass response is undeniably impactful, delivering a powerful thump that can make your favorite bass-heavy tracks truly come alive.

This headphone has no qualms about embracing the low end, providing a level of energy and excitement that theoretically should pair well with genres like electronic dance music, hip-hop, and pop.

However, the robust bass of the 99 Neo does come with its own set of issues.

Meze 99 Neo Review

For many people including myself, the bass is super overdone like your mom’s meatloaf, giving it a boomy and muddy quality.

This can lead to the lower frequencies overshadowing the midrange and treble, making the overall sonic presentation unbalanced.

Well, let’s be honest, it can really sound lopsided depending on the track in question.

For bass enthusiasts, an elevated low-end shelf might sound like a dream come true.

When you’re jamming to bass-heavy tracks like electronic dance music or hip-hop, the thumping kicks and rumbling lows can be quite exhilarating.

However, there’s a point where “powerful” can cross into “overpowering.”

Critics of the Meze 99 Neo’s bass (such as myself) argue that most of the time it’s just boomy and muddy.

What does that mean exactly?

Meze 99 Neo Review

Well, the boomy bass can lead to a lack of precision – it’s like that one neighbor who cranks up their subwoofer to the max, causing your walls to vibrate, and you can’t even discern the individual notes.

The muddiness refers to the blending of different frequencies in the bass, making it harder to distinguish between instruments and vocals.

When the bass becomes too dominant, it can indeed drown out other frequencies, especially the midrange where vocals and many instrument harmonics reside.

Ever produce a beat and have trouble with the kick or bass cutting through the mix? Yeah, that’s a huge problem and one that the 99 Neo unfortunately embraces.

Normal people take the boom and mud OUT of the beat so that other frequencies can have room to shine. The 99 Neo is like, Nah dog. Beats by Dre. 

4 LYFE!

This can result in an incredibly unbalanced listening experience, where the singer’s voice might seem distant, and the guitar strums or piano keys get lost in the sonic abyss.

It’s important to note that the bold bass of the 99 Neo is a deliberate choice, and for Beats by Dre enthusiasts who don’t know any better, it can be a thrilling experience that adds a visceral kick to their music.

However, if you’re somewhat sane and prioritize a more balanced and even-handed soundstage where every instrument and vocal finds its space, you might find the Neo’s bass dominance really overpowering.

I certainly did, and it’s not a headphone I ever want to listen to again.

Meze 99 Classic

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Meze 99 Classic, which takes a more refined and nuanced approach to its sound signature.

The bass on the 99 Classic is still present and impactful, but it leans towards a controlled and textured presentation.

Unlike the Neo’s thumping bass, the Classic’s low frequencies are more restrained, allowing for a smoother transition between the bass and other ranges.

The bass response on the 99 Classic retains its clarity and avoids the boomy and muddy qualities that many find in the Neo.

This results in a more balanced distribution of frequencies, allowing vocals, midrange instruments, and treble elements to shine without being drowned out.

The Classic’s sonic presentation is characterized by a warm and velvety midrange, making it particularly appealing for genres like Jazz, Acoustic, and Classical music, where intricate instrument details and vocal nuances take center stage.

The 99 Classic is just a better headphone in every way.

It’s lively and energetic but doesn’t sound sloppy like that kind of not-so-attractive chick you made out with at a party one time because you were completely hammered. 

Hey, we’ve all been there. I won’t judge.

Ultimately, the choice between the two isn’t really a choice at all.

I’ve tried on a few occasions to listen to the Neo again and I pretty much rip it off my head after about a minute flat.

It sounds horrendous to me.

On the flip side, the Meze 99 Classic embodies a more laid-back and warm sound profile. Everything is handled so much better.

The bass is still present, but it’s more controlled and subtly textured. The midrange boasts a smooth and velvety presentation, making acoustic and jazz tracks feel like a cozy embrace.

The treble is relaxed, contributing to a fatigue-free listening experience. If you lean toward a mellower, refined sound, the Classic will be your musical haven.

Before we give a final verdict, let’s touch on amplification needs.

JDS ATOM HEVI Review

Meze 99 Neo

The Meze 99 Neo is designed to be relatively easy to drive, which means you can comfortably use it with a variety of devices, including smartphones, laptops, and portable music players.

Its low impedance and high sensitivity make it quite versatile in terms of amplification requirements.

This is great news for those who are always on the move or prefer a hassle-free listening experience without the need for additional equipment.

If you do want an amp, I wouldn’t spend more than $200.

For portable homies, I’d look here for my best options.

If you’re primarily on a desktop, just get an ATOM (pictured above) or K5 Pro.

Meze 99 Classic

The Meze 99 Classic, with its slightly higher impedance compared to the Neo, may benefit a bit more from proper amplification, but honestly, they’re both pretty easy to drive out of a phone.

Final Verdict

Meze 99 Neo Review

After an in-depth exploration of the Meze 99 Neo and 99 Classic headphones, one standout winner emerges that captures the hearts and minds of snobby audiophiles worldwide – the Meze 99 Classic, homie!

While both headphones showcase remarkable craftsmanship and design, the Meze 99 Classic offers a sound signature that embodies a level of refinement and sophistication that is unparalleled.

The Neo’s powerful bass, while exciting for some, tends to overshadow other frequencies and really muddle the overall listening experience.

On the other hand, the Classic presents a harmonious balance, allowing vocals, instruments, and trebles to shine through with clarity and grace.

The Classic’s wooden construction not only exudes a sense of luxury but also contributes to its captivating sound profile.

The warm and textured midrange, along with the controlled and precise bass, creates an immersive experience that transports you into the heart of your favorite tracks, whether it’s the delicate strumming of a guitar or the ethereal notes of a piano.

In a world where headphones often strive to make an impact through sheer force, the Meze 99 Classic takes a different approach – it invites you to lean in and discover the intricate layers of your music.

It’s the embodiment of timeless elegance, pairing its vintage-inspired design with a sound signature that pays homage to the art of music itself.

So, if you’re a connoisseur of sound seeking a headphone that doesn’t compromise on quality, that embraces every note and nuance with grace, the Meze 99 Classic is the clear choice.

Let your ears revel in the symphony of rich tones, and let the Classic remind you of the sheer magic that music holds.

Learn More:

 

Well, that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Meze 99 Neo vs. Classic comparison and gained some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

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Thoughts on these headphones? I’d love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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