ALBA in-ears promise high-spec sound and an integrated DAC for a surprisingly low price

The latest IEMs from the high-end headphone brand promise superb performance that won't break the bank

Meze Audio Alba IEMs
(Image credit: Meze Audio)
Quick Summary

Meze Audio's new ALBA in-ear monitors include a DAC in their 3.5mm to USB-C adapter and promise to deliver a largely neutral but warm sound. They're the most affordable headphones the firm has made to date at just £139 / $159.

Meze Audio, the Romanian high-end audio brand, has just launched a new set of in-ear monitors – and they're much more affordable than you might expect. In fact, the new ALBA headphones are the most affordable headphones the firm has ever made.

The new Meze Audio ALBA IEMs promise to deliver the same high quality sound as the firm's existing headphone range, and as part of that they come with an integrated DAC inline with the USB adapter. You can use the headphones as standard wired headphones via the 3.5mm plug or connect to phones and computers via USB-C.

If you're wondering why the firm has named its earbuds after the gaelic name for Scotland, it hasn't: in Romanian, alba means "first light". 

Meze Audio ALBA IEMs: key features and price

Let's start with the price: these headphones are just £139 / $159 – and that price includes the DAC. 

The driver is a 10.8mm dynamic driver with a frequency range of 15Hz to 25kHz and it goes loud, delivering a sound pressure level of 109dB. The Alba headphones have less than 0.1% harmonic distortion at 1kHz, have an impedance of 32 ohms at 1kHz and Meze says that their sonic signature is largely neutral with some added warmth.

The buds themselves are mainly white and silver with a transparent cable and zinc alloy and anodised aluminium hardware. They're clean looking rather than showy. The cable ends in a 3.5mm plug onto which you can attach the USB-C adapter and DAC.

Meze is one of the more interesting audio brands out there and has amassed an impressive set of awards for its headphones and IEMs since its launch in 2011; we've reviewed and highly rated several sets of Meze Audio headphones and given them the full five stars. For example, we found that the firm's Rai Solo IEMs deliver "incredible detail and dynamic range". If these new ALBA IEMs can do the same for even less money they'll be a genuine bargain.

The new Meze Audio ALBA IEMs are available to pre-order today, June 20, from

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).