Meze 99 Classics vs Neo Review: Best Headphones for Bass?

Odi Productions Apr 20, 2024
265 People Read
Meze 99 Classics Neo headphones on desk

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. 

In this article, I'm going to give my honest review of the Meze 99 Classics vs Neo. This is a wired headphone known for its sound quality, and more specifically its powerful bass response. I'll help you decide whether these are right for you!

NOTE: The specific pair I used for testing is the Neo, but based on my research, the Classics have nearly identical sound, just with Walnut wood material on the earcups as opposed to the faux leather on the Neo.

If Meze would like to send a pair of the Classics then I can review that separately as well 😉


Products featured in this review along with current prices from Amazon:



These are affiliate links which we earn commission if you make a purchase.



Meze 99 Classics / Neo Review in Short

If there was one sentence for these it would be: "The best (wired) audiophile headphones for bass lovers with all-day comfort, and perfect for gaming and movies".

If you really want to FEEL the music, and listen to modern genres such as EDM, Pop, Rap, Hip-Hop, Heavy Metal, then these headphones will allow you to appreciate all the glorious low-end and sub-bass.

Also, these are strictly a WIRED headphone only, so if you need Bluetooth wireless and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), look elsewhere.


Meze 99 Classics / Neo Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very good sound quality

  • Extremely comfy

  • Great build quality

  • Doesn't need headphone amp

Cons

  • Wired only, no Bluetooth

  • Tad bulky for travel

  • Classics isn't as good value as Neo


What's the difference between Meze 99 Classics vs Neo?

The main difference between the Meze 99 Classics vs Neo is that the Classics have a walnut wood finish on the exterior of the earcups, whereas the Neo has a black synthetic material that feels like rubber or fake leather. Underneath the exterior, the 99 Classics and Neo should have identical hardware. Some report that the Classics have a slightly different sound quality due to the acoustics of the wood finish.



Sound Quality: 8.3 / 10

The Meze 99 Classics / Neo is one of the better headphones for bass that I've tested.

Strong bass impact, with mids and smooth highs that are non-fatiguing or completely drowned out. A warmer tone that is very fun to listen to for hours without fatigue.

These are NOT your typical neutral or analytical response, they are a FUN sound signature to jam out to like at a live concert as opposed to a clinical studio.

Let's start with the Meze's strong suit, the low-end. If sound quality was based on bass alone, this would easily be an 8 or 9 out of 10!

The bass is powerful, in your face, and with good sub-bass extension. If there is one critique, the bass could be punchier and not bleed as much into the lower mids.

Some may consider the sound "boomy" or "dark", but I think there is still enough mids and highs to still appease most casual listeners, and some audiophiles.

If there was one frequency range that is lacking, it would be the highs.

They lack sparkle and can be a little veiled compared to your "analytical/neutral" headphones.

That said, the benefit of these smooth highs is that the sound is completely NON-fatiguing.

There are headphones that are extremely analytical to the point that the high-end is very harsh and fatiguing to listen to for an hour.

That is fortunately NOT the case with these, in fact the opposite. You can listen to these for hours upon hours and not risk the highs being offensive. If anything, it may be the bass that can get tiresome (although not for me!)

This is a closed-back headphone that still has a very good soundstage all things considered, although not like open-back cans, because physics.

Thanks to the wide soundstage, these are AMAZING for gaming. I tested them playing a couple ranked Valorant games and Match MVP'd. I could pinpoint enemies better than my V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless that I used to use for gaming (in wired mode).

If I had to nitpick, I'd like a little more separation but most likely closed-back limitations as with the above.



Comfort: 5.0 / 5

Meze 99 Classics Neo weighs 266 grams

Let's not beat around the bush here, these are simply one of the most comfortable headphones available.

As I have used and reviewed headphones over the years, I consider Comfort to be the most underrated quality of ANY pair of headphones. At the end of the day, it's the headphones that you can bear to use on a daily basis for hours on end that will be more valuable (take the Apple AirPods Pro 2 for example).

The Meze 99 Neo is very lightweight at just 266 grams on my scale, or 9.38 oz. This translates to just over half a pound (0.59 lb to be exact).

With a wide suspension headband that reminds me of AKG studio headphones, there is virtually zero pressure on the top of my head, very much unlike the heavy and fatiguing Apple AirPods Max that I own and have reviewed as well.

Clamping force is just the necessary amount, nothing excessive or pressure-inducing.

Also, the earcups don't seem to get hot even with extended hours of usage. Perhaps they get only slightly warm around the 1-2 hour mark, but not as hot as other over-ears.

Meze 99 Classics Neo Earpads

The earcups feel a bit large and my ears are barely pressing against the inner mesh. They do have "small" earcups available that users report to have a more favorable sound signature and possibly a better seal than the stock ear pads.



Features / Looks / Build-Quality: 3.0 / 5

Meze 99 Classics Neo in hardshell case

Being a wired headphone, the Meze 99 Classics / Neo is at a disadvantage here, but still gets points for being closed-back for decent passive noise isolation, and having a low impedance that is extremely easy to drive from your smartphone, computer, or any device, really.

It does come with a nice hardshell case for carrying around and traveling while preventing damage. This is a nice touch considering some headphones in this price range cheap out with just a soft-shell case.

Meze 99 Classics Neo case outside

Interestingly, the Meze 99 outputs significantly more volume than my V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones in wired mode, which is known to be a very consumer-oriented headphone.

I have to pretty much max out the volume to 90% for the V-Modas on my Mac Mini (M1), but for these Meze 99, it gets almost uncomfortably loud at 70%, and I like it LOUD. I consider that a huge plus compared to high impedance headphones requiring a whole headphone amp setup.

No Bluetooth wireless or Active Noise Cancellation is what hurts the Meze 99 in 2024, so I wouldn't recommend these for people who travel or commute often.



Value: 3.0 / 5

I was able to pickup the Neo version for just $199 on Amazon, which I consider to be a fantastic value for decent sound quality headphones with bass on the market that I have tested.

On the other hand, the Walnut-clad Classics are currently $309, a much lesser value considering the internals are the same as the Neo.

Of course, the lack of modern features like Bluetooth and ANC is what will prevent the Meze from being a perfect score for value, but that sound signature alone is probably worth it for bassheads.



Sound Quality: 8.3 / 10

Comfort: 5 / 5

Features / Looks / Build Quality: 3.0 / 5

Value: 3.0 / 5

Total: 19.0 / 25

Meze 99 Classics / Neo Overall Score: 7.6 / 10


Are the Meze 99 Classics or Neo worth it?

Overall, the Meze 99 Classics / Neo scores a decent 7.6 out of 10 from me, which is amazing considering the points it loses out by not being Bluetooth wireless and Noise Canceling in 2024.

So there you have it, if you're okay with being tethered to your desktop / laptop / smartphone with a cable and don't need noise-canceling, the Meze 99 Classics / Neo is a very enjoyable set of headphones to use for music listening, watching YouTube, movies, listening to podcasts, and gaming.


Meze 99 Classics / Neo Headphones FAQ

Are the Meze 99 Classics / Neo made in Romania?

The Meze 99 Classics and Neo headphones are made and assembled in China, but designed in Romania.

Do you need an amp for Meze 99?

No, the Meze 99 Classics and Neo headphones do not need a headphone amp as they are easily pushed to very loud volumes directly from a smartphone or computer.

Is Meze a good headphone brand?

Yes, Meze is a good headphone brand that focuses not only on sound quality, but build quality and comfort. Essentially, "the whole package" when it comes to using headphones, aside from modern features like Bluetooth wireless and noise cancelling.

Where is Meze audio located?

Meze Audio is currently headquartered in Baia Mare, Romania, where it was founded by Antonio Meze in 2011.

What is the meaning of the word Meze?

The meaning of the word "Meze" is "to taste", and is of Greek and Turkish origin. Today, it is used to refer to a number of small dishes or appetizers served before a meal.

When was Meze Audio founded?

Meze Audio was founded in 2011 by Antonio Meze in Baia Mare, Romania.




Check current prices and/or purchase the Meze 99 Classics / Neo below!

These are affiliate links which we earn commission if you make a purchase.


How We Tested and Our Methodology

RecordingNOW.com is a 100% independent publisher with over 10 years of experience testing and reviewing consumer electronics and headphones.

We currently purchase the products we test with our own money, and are not paid by any company or manufacturer to influence our opinions or decisions.

After purchasing the product, we conduct up to hundreds of hours of detailed hands-on testing in a controlled, acoustically-treated environment.

ODi Productions is our resident expert and author of this article, with 10 years of experience as a professional music producer, tech journalist, and audiophile.


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Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase.