Meze's new wired earbuds promise high-end sound without the high-end price tag

Meze Audio Alba
(Image credit: Meze Audio)

Meze Audio is one of those brands that really should be better known: we've been testing its headphones for a few years now and found them very impressive. But they can also be quite expensive: Meze's Liric headphones came in at a cool $1,999 / £1,799 / AU$3,399. 

However, the firm has just launched a set of in-ears that aren't just affordable by Meze Audio's standards; they're affordable full stop. The new Meze Audio Alba in-ears are just $159 / £139 / AU$239. That makes them the most affordable headphones Meze has ever made, and their price makes them very competitive.

Alba is Romanian for "first light" and these lightweight in-ears come with an impressive specification. 

Meze Audio Alba: key features and specification

The Alba in-ears feature a 10.8mm dynamic driver with a frequency range of 15Hz to 25kHz, sound pressure of 109dB at 1kHz and an impedance of 32 Ohms at 1kHz. Meze says that the sonic profile is fairly neutral "with an added touch of warmth". 

As these are wired in-ears there's no ANC because there's no internal power source for the necessary processing. However, passive noise cancelation should be quite effective as these are in-ear rather than on-ear headphones. 

It's hard to see from photos but the white of the Alba is a pearl-like finish. That's teamed up with zinc alloy and anodized aluminum hardware that should be more than tough enough to handle everyday lumps and bumps. The overall look is more subtle than many in-ears and the relatively small size means they're not hanging out of your ear canals like an apartment's air conditioner.

In addition to the standard 3.5mm braided headphone cable with its twin 0.78mm connectors, the package also includes a USB-C adapter with built-in DAC that you can connect to your phone, tablet or computer. When you consider that some of the best portable DACs will set you back a pretty penny, it's incredible value from this trusted name in audio. You also get four differently sized ear tips and an "eco-leather" carrying pouch. 

The Meze Audio Alba in-ears are on sale now with an expected July 2024 delivery date and, although we haven't yet heard them ourselves, on paper they're a great way to get hi-res audio without the sky-high fees… 

Might they soon feature in our best wired headphones guide? Highly likely… 

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.