Meze Alba Review

Meze Alba side by side

If you remember our coverage of Munich’s High End audio show, then it’s no surprise the Meze is back with another slate of new releases. For those who don’t recall, Meze announced one new open-back full-size headphone and one new IEM. We have the latter of the two in for review today. With a striking design that both calls familiar design language to mind and offers a fresh look at the same time, the Meze Alba looks to create an entry point to Meze’s full line of products. Priced at $149.99, the Alba is meant to nail the value-to-performance ratio. And with the help of a little friend (an accompanying ⅛ inch to USB-C adapter with a built-in DAC), the Alba aims to please. So enough beating around the bush. Let’s get into the review.

What’s in the Box:

  • Alba IEMs
  • 2-pin cable with 3.5mm termination
  • 2-pin cable with 4.4mm termination
  • Leather, hard shell case
  • Selection of ear tips
  • USB-C to headphone jack adapter
  • Quick Start Guide

Meze Alba birds eye view


As I said in the intro, the Alba mixes a combination of familiar looks with new ones for the brand. On the surface, the mold looks just like the higher-end Advar. Those are unique in their own right and these two IEMs both run against the grain of typical IEM design. And in typical Meze fashion, the brand has also brought in a unique combination of materials to create the striking yet strong build. The main characters of the build are zinc alloy and anodized aluminum. These parts make for a confidence-inspiring build. And they look great too. The IEMs appear to have an iridescent white color, which the company says should resemble a pearl (to my eyes it does).

The cables are also well-built. While the exact specifications of the cable are not clear at the moment, they appear similar to Meze’s previous run of IEM cables, with the notable difference being the 2-pin connectors which replace MMCX on older models. The adapter, or dongle as I’ll refer to it, boasts the same build quality. One cool note about it is that the interior of the USB-C connector lights up when plugged in. A nice touch from Meze.


The operating force behind the Alba is Meze’s 10.8mm dynamic driver. But even with just the one driver, Meze says this IEM covers 15 Hz to 25 kHz. It has a relatively high impedance at 32 ohms and an SPL of 109 dB/V. Truth be told, I did not find this IEM difficult to drive – it was happy straight out of my MacBook Air, through the iBasso DC-Elite, and its companion dongle. But I will say that it was picky about the DACs it was paired with. We’ll get to this later, but it was clear that the Alba and the dongle are a match made in, well, Meze’s production shop.

Meze Alba with dongle

Sound Impressions

Low End: The Alba’s bass region is extremely versatile. On acoustic tracks, it stays nimble and close to the vest, never coming across as boomy or overwrought. This makes it a surprise when a track that does call for bass quantity comes along, and the bass starts slamming. It’s a feat of macrodynamic tact that the bass can be completely mellow and textured on one track, and then bombastic and exciting on the next. With my playlist on shuffle, I went from the dulcet tones of Brandi Carlile to the club with Drake’s “One Dance.” I think it’s safe to say the bass is my favorite part of this IEM.

Mids: Meze, as with many of their products, targets a neutral-warm sound with this IEM. I have to say that they achieve this goal with flying colors. Vocals have a nice shine to them without being boxy or shouty. This isn’t a V-shaped IEM by any stretch, but maybe I’d consider it W-shaped. The bass is strong and punchy and the mids are linear with a tinge of warmth. Where these remind you that they’re still a value-geared headset is in the transitional spaces like the upper mids/lower treble. This area was a little harsh for me.

Top End: Treble here is nice and detailed and rounds the whole IEM out. There were times where the top end was a little less forgiving to poorly mastered tracks. However, for the most part, the treble is well extended and complements the thunderous bass and warm mids quite well. It was only on a song like “Only In Dreams” by Weezer where its gritty production was exposed a little bit by the Alba’s.

Soundstage: The soundstage on the Alba is downright impressive. At first I didn’t appreciate the Alba’s game, but then little details would spring out of the woodwork from right and left, opening things up and creating a more holographic feeling around me. Imaging is solid and, for the price, you’re getting a great experience in this regard.

Meze Dongle

To Dongle or Not to Dongle

One quick note about the USB-C to headphone jack adapter. I personally found the Alba to sound best when paired with the adapter. This comes compared to other dongles like the iBasso DC-Elite as well as straight out of my MacBook Air. I noticed better bass slam and a more cohesive, warmer sound when compared to the DC-Elite and no-dongle methods.

If you’re getting this IEM, definitely play around with the adapter because it may just open up this IEM in ways you didn’t expect.

Meze logo on Alba

Final Thoughts

I’ll come right out and say it: if you’re looking for a sub-200 dollar IEM that comes with its own great sounding dongle, then the Alba is a great place to start. It has a nice neutral sound with a bass response that can do it all. Yes, it lacks a little finesse, but for the price, it’s extremely competitive. And did I mention it looks awesome too?

The Meze Alba is available at Audio46.

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