From the Depths Came a Broiling Pitch – A Review of the Meze 99 Neo


Because of the Neo’s propensity for bass and warmth, I recommend a player that is as neutral as possible, or at least one that does well in the treble and has strong, clear mids.

My Opus#2 makes a great pairing with Neo. On its own, the Opus#2 is just slightly on the warm side. But it has outstanding dynamics and treble presence. There is tremendous body to the notes, and WAY more driving power than you’d ever need for the new Mezes. It’s also the widest sounding DAP I’ve heard, so Neo gets to stretch out to its fullest. You won’t easily find a smoother, more natural renderer than Opus#2, which gives Neo all the ingredients to become its best self. It’s very hard not to fall for these headphones when plugged into this music player.

Cayin’s i5 is a rather warm, thick DAP, with extreme bass presence. While it’s not a disaster for Neo, it does take it even further in the direction I’m trying to avoid. Nonetheless, I found myself digging this pairing. There’s something about rich, powerful musicality that defies prejudice. Is it my favorite signature? No. But I can’t deny it has its charms. And an ample supply, at that.

The Opus#1 is my choice for best mid-fi audio player. With Neo, it brings in more air, giving a better sense of space and separation. The highs are nice and glistening, the mids are more vivid, and there’s solid kick down low. The Opus#1 is amazingly neutral, without ever being cold or analytical. It’s the best version of neutral, where everything shines, due to exquisite dynamism. I’ve said it before, this DAP brings out the best in every headphone, no matter the profile, and Neo is no exception. Opus does an admirable job balancing this bottom-heavy gorilla.

The new Cayin N3 is currently in my possession for testing. It’s only seen around twenty hours of burn-in. So much might change as the days roll by. Right now, however, it gives Neo a thin, weak sound. Warm, but not much going on at either end of the spectrum. It’s quite lifeless right now, with a tiny, boxed-in stage. Let us hope the N3 will open up with time.

Even my pathetic Galaxy S6 gave Neo a FAR better spring in its step. Together they sound… okay. Get well-loud. Plenty of energy. But, this is not a great smartphone for audio quality. I suggest you choose a different one, or better yet, a nice DAP.

So that’s the Meze 99 Neo. Pinky is fond of these headphones. They are a terribly fun listen. Too much bass! For sure! Give me the 99C any day of the week. Yet Neo is decidedly sweet nonetheless, and knows how to delight a fellow. There’s no way around it, Neo’s got the goods. Coming from Meze, I’d expect nothing less.


1 2 3

About Author

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.


  1. That damper glued to the front of the driver actually it comes by default with the 99 classics… Did you get to hear the 99 Neo without the damper glued?

    • Hmm. Interesting. My 99C came used, and heavily modded. I undid all the mods I found, but it’s possible he removed that damper and forgot to tell me.

  2. After the burn in of the Cayin N3, it was finally a good match with the Neo? Oh, and if you compared it to your former favorite Sennheiser Momentum, which one would come Victorious?

    • Yeah, they play nicely together. The N3 really filled out after burn-in. I don’t hear any of the weak-sauce sound I did at the beginning.

      Neo is a very warm headphone, and the N3 is a very warm DAP, which isn’t the best way to go. Normally I would recommend pairing Neo with a more neutral player. Or going with the 99 Classics for the N3. But, I can’t deny, the result here is still highly enjoyable, if not the most optimal.

      • I do not totally agree that cayin n3 is “very warm”. Yes, it is slightly, which gives a certain organic / analog touch to the sound. But the general is a clear sound, and very detailed for its price. I mention it to you because I have a Sennheiser Urbanite, which is reputed to sound very warm and dark, but paired with the n3, it step up in clarity, especially in upper mids and lower treble.

Leave A Reply