For some Skeptical Susans out there, the thought of a cable changing the way you hear music might seem a bit crazy. However, for many of us dyed-in-the-wool audiophiles, the effect isn’t just a fact of of life, but a serious consideration when buying a new pair of ‘phones. Now Meze Audio has released their own silver-plated OFC cable to compliment their entry level headphones. But at $99, is this cable worth the price? Or does this cable amount to just another extraneous accessory?
Meze Silver Plated Balanced OFC Cable Review
This new Meze cable retails for a solid $99. Compatible with the Meze 99 Classic wood headphones ($309) and the Meze 99 Neo headphones ($199), the cost can seem steep at 33-50% of the cost of a compatible headphone.
However, when you consider that this cable features balanced sound with a 2.5mm connection type, the price doesn’t seem all that steep.
Most quality balanced cables with silver plating will cost at least $100, and in most cases they actually retail for more – like the silver plated Litz Cable from Alo Media ($149).
The Meze, like more expensive balanced silver-plated cables, offers a robust design and build that holds up for ages. There’s a semi-opaque sleeve over the cabling, allowing you to know if excessive wear should strain the cable.
At 4 ft (1.2 m), the length of this cable is my only bone to pick with Meze. For most folks, 4 ft will work just fine (and may actually be preferred by most users), but I myself prefer something a little longer at 5 ft.
The oxygen-free design allows for a cleaner listening experience, too, while the balanced 2.5 connection opens up compatibility to a wide range of audio players and DACs from different brands. Indeed, hardware from brands like Astell & Kern, FiiO, Onkyo, Cayin, HIDIZS, and Questyle are all compatible with Meze’s new Silver Plated Balanced OFC Cable.
Testing this cable out required me to dust off my old 99 Classic and my old 99 Neo. It’s been a fair chunk of time since I sat down with these headphones, but my ears were more than happy to pick back up where they had once left off.
The biggest difference – at least to my ears – comes with the 99 Classic, where music and even individual notes seem fuller and more precise. There’s an impression of more space and depth to the sound in general, too. Not a total game-changer, this effect just makes the 99 Classic an even better-sounding headphone.
On the Meze 99 Neo, the Silver Plated Balanced OFC Cable still makes a difference, but that difference seems a bit slighter and less pronounced. Notes appear slightly more sharp and defined, but the impression of space and depth is less than that felt when using the cable with the 99 Classic.
For those who dig the Meze sound and want to breathe new life into a pair of their headphones, this cable does improve the sound. For fans of the 99 Classic, I wholeheartedly recommend this accessory cable, as the effect is immediately noticeably, and a noticeable improvement over the stock sound.
But what about the 99 Neo fans out there? While I always felt like the 99 Neo was a poor pretender to the richer, more emphatic sound of the 99 Classic, I am sure it has it’s proponents. And, if you swear by the 99 Neo and want to improve that sound, you could still probably do a lot worse than picking up this Silver Plated Balanced OFC Cable. I just don’t think the difference is as evident as it is on the more expensive 99 Classic.
Could you get the same cable from another manufacturer? Maybe. But you’ll pay a much-overpriced fee just to get it from another manufacturer. Cable giant Moon Audio comes to mind – though if they do make a cable that fits the 99 Classic or 99 Neo, it probably costs waaaaay too much (and would also lack the 2.5 mm balanced connection).
Adding a clear improvement to the sound of Meze 99 Classic and 99 Neo headphones, the Meze Silver Plated Balanced OFC Cable seems like a steal at $99. With its solid build and wide-ranging compatibility (as well as its pure, uncompromising sound), this cable is a must for any Meze maniac.
Snatch this cable up lickety-split for the best price here: