Meze 99 Neo Headphone Review

Hisoundfi has a great review of the Meze 99 Neo on Head-Fi.  This is the follow on to the original Meze 99 Classic.  The primary difference between the two headphones is with the material used to make them.  The Classic uses a wood cup versus plastic for the Neo.  There are likely some tuning adjustments as well.  From the few reviews of the Neo I have read there appears to be a slight tilt to the Classic with folks liking the original a bit over the Neo.  Try them out at a meet and see for yourself.

Pros – Classics-like performance at a cheaper asking price, Black and chrome aesthetic looks sharp, Nice cable options and travel case, musical sound signature works with many genres
Cons – Not for those who want neutral and airy sound, Mid-bass can be overwhelming depending on the track that’s playing, Headband microphonics

Review of Meze 99 Neo

Focal Utopia Headphone Review

Currawong has posted a review of the Utopia on Head-Fi.  As with comments from other reviews of the Utopia, you must have a TOTL ecosystem to support these headphones.  Poorly mastered recordings or average amping will make the Utopia miss its mark as a true top-end headphone i.e. Stax SR009.  What this means is that you will need $4,000 for the Utopia plus a chunk more change on your amp/DAC/cables/power purifier/turntable/Hi-Res (and well mastered) media.  My ears are no longer capable of supporting this sort of expenditure.

The review includes comparisons with the Sony MDR-Z1R, HD-800, MrSpeakers’ Ether Flow and the HiFiMan HE1000 V2.

Pros: Incredibly resolving of music and upstream components. Incredible driver speed and ability to perceive width, depth and the movements of sounds.

Cons: Incredibly resolving of music and upstream components. Sound a bit closed-in if not used with a top system. Bass a bit weak and has phase issues.

Review of Utopia

Audioquest NightOwl Carbon Review

Cinder posted a review on Head-Fi of the new NightOwl from Audioquest.  This ostensibly is a closed version of the NightHawk.  However, the NightOwl is priced significantly more than the NightHawk at $699.  Unfortunately, this review had no comparisons with other headphones.  I’ll hunt down other reviews which have comparisons and link them below.

Pros: Very good 3D-audio placement, lots of detail retrieval, great extension on both ends, eco-friendly packaging, great case, comfortable, classy look
Cons: Expensive, only comes with one cable

Review of NightOwl

Focal Utopia Headphone Review

Aornic posted a very nice video and extensive written review of the Utopia over on Head-Fi.  I included a link below for the video review on Head-Fi.  It’s interesting that the soundstage is a bit constrained i.e. similar to HD600 series.

Pros: Extreme clarity and detail, easily driven, good build quality, not lacking in any frequency, dynamic and impactful sound, weight distribution
Cons: Price, only a 1/4 terminated stock cable included, stock cable heavy and unwieldy, bit on the heavier side overall

Video and written review of the Utopia

 

Meze 99 Classics Headphone Review

PinkyPowers posted a review of the Meze 99 Classics on Head-Fi.  It is an interesting review and you need to travers the first sections where PinkyPowers goes off on IEMs.

Pros: Tuning that shines with every device. Comfort. Detachable Cable. What a looker!
Cons: Needs mods for custom cable, or a Meze proprietary plug.

Review of Meze 99 Classics