A few years ago, a small Romanian headphone company called Meze Audio took audio communities by storm with a gorgeous pair of $309 headphones, the 99 Classics. Here was a headphone clad in wood and aluminum that didn’t make any claims or revolutionary technology, artist collaborations, or gimmicky features – just great design and sound.

The name now seems like foreshadowing, as the Classics are now among the most recommended headphones on audio enthusiast networks. Meze followed them up with the 99 Neo which features a very similar sound but replaces the wood with a stealthier black plastic and brings the price down to a $250 MSRP (though they normally sell for $199 nowadays).

The Neo is the headphone I’m reviewing today. Here’s the TL;DR: If you’re in the market for your first pair of closed-back headphones that prioritize sound quality over features, these should be near the very top of your list. Even if you’ve already built up a collection of headphones, the 99 Neo is well worth your consideration – it gets so many things right.

It starts with the design: This headphone is gorgeous. While I would personally pay up for the wooden Classics – the rarely available Maple Silver is particularly stunning – the Neo is an attractive solution for those who prefer their gadgets black as night.

They’re also really cozy. The pleather earcups are soft on the noggin, and the automatically-adjusting headband makes it easy to find a perfect fit. There’s no noise-canceling circuitry here, but they block some outside noise passively and don’t leak much back out. The build is simple and solid, a timeless design that feels like it can genuinely last years. And though the elastic headband means they don’t fold up, a classy rigid case is included for transport.