What's in the box? A branded zip case for safe stowaway passage in sundry luggage; inside that the 99 Neo; and inside its empty centre, a small zippered pouch with the 1.2m dual-entry 3.5mm-terminated cable with inline remote for mobile use and 6.3/3.5mm metal adaptor. Because the cups are symmetrical and the drivers mount flat not angled, you decide which cup is right and left by how you plug in the cable. The remote sits on the left leg. This scheme makes for a far cleaner look than putting identifiers on the cups or bridge. The loading is sealed for minimal sound leakage in public. The cups are compact which reduces free air around especially bigger ears to get warmer quicker.

What will it play with? I'm old-fashioned. I prefer dedicated kit for music. For mobile, my players of choice are a Questyle QP1R and a Soundaware Esther Pro. Both use micro SD cards for music storage. Those are thus swappable between 'em. Young-fashioned users (is that even a word?) love multi-tasking kit. They migrate tunes to a smartphone. To represent them, I'd cut'n'paste some into my Samsung and report on how loud and/or lovely that could get. To represent users whose laptop is their twitchy strand into the worldwide web, I'd do the same for my travel laptop. For finals and overkill just because, I'd tap into my bedside COS Engineering H1 DAC/amp which usually drives Final's flagship Sonorous X in fully balanced mode. Whilst that's clearly not Neo's native beat, it'd serve as reference for ultimate potential; a means to see how much or little the other devices swept under the carpet. High sensitivity not only means coming on song with little power. It also means high sensitivity to noise. Certain older ΒΌ" receiver jacks from the pre-mobile days when headphones were less efficient could thus be guilty of background noise. That's particularly likely if it's actually the high-power speaker outputs which drive their headfi ports through a simple load resistor. Another kink could be that their volume comes on so rapidly that their pot is still imbalanced between channels. With headphones of 100dB+ sensitivity like Neo, one may thus be better off with less power. As always, try to know for sure. Wear a long leather coat and cool shades while you're at it to channel Keanu Reeves before Warner Bros.' Matrix reboot hits.

The 99 Classic were great fun! Much hifi is serious not just on price. It's serious in how it engages the listener. For example, Sennheiser's HD800 are serious. They're beautifully engineered, pricey and exceptionally resolved but also... well, serious. This includes fussiness over matching ancillaries because they're hyper revealing, forward in the low treble and a bit lightweight down low. Even when optimally tweaked with aftermarket cables and compadre electronics, they never transform into relaxed easygoing cans. They're precision instruments with a certain associated earnestness and a listening gestalt that's more about paying full attention than unselfconscious grooving. Hifi voiced for fun tends to lean in the opposite more casual direction. It dishes out more bass particularly in the vital upper bass; and counterbalances that with a softer more polite than illuminated top end. Speaking in generalities, FunFi tends not to pursue ultra resolution by way of ultimate detail magnification. Instead it nearly invariably counters with a bottom-up perspective, chunky density and rich tone. Such a combination of attributes lends itself to longer listening sessions and a more relaxed experience that's not trying at all.

Fun spelled Mini recently happened to my wife. She exchanged her 50K mileage 2013 VW Polo for a 2007 Mini Cooper of the same mileage and got money back in trade. She never really dug the Volkswagen. It's a perfectly competent car at the very top of its size class. It's a conservative serious small compact. In the sense of not being a toy despite its cute looks, the Mini too is a very serious car. But unlike the Polo, it's not serious in the other sense. It's mega fun, with a vivacious peppy attitude and very good handling. From the user experience perspective, it's a completely different ball game. It makes the Polo feel stuffy and business-like or lower-level executive. Now that we're clear on serious versus serious, would the Neo continue the Classic's victory lap in the fun lane?