pataburd has already responded to you, but here is my $0.02. The stock cable is the baseline for me. I looked for an alternative because it seemed like a pretty simple, inexpensive way to teak the sound and have some fun with the 90's. It is always good to have a spare cable on hand. Also, I do not need the 3 button controller as I use this with iPod/Amp.
I tried the Auvio (purchased in store at Radio Shack for $14.99). The plug body is <0.250" and fits the ML's nicely. It is only 3 ft length, and for me it is not too practical for portable use. I take my portable rig (incl. ML 90's) on twice daily dog walks. I also note a lot of cable noise from the Auvio...microphoincs? The sound is a very good with this cable, though...maybe a little better than the stock as it seems to reduce some harshness that occur in the HF on some tracks.
I have a DIY cable made from a 3.5 to 3.5 mm extension cable with an ideally sized male (Mikros) end...I cut it to 4 ft and replaced the female end with a RS gold plated male plug. This cable is definitely a step down from the stock cable. I am pretty sure that this cable was of dubious quality to begin with.
I have a Pipeline ET-4 and ET-1 also from RS but have not modded the ends of either yet to fit the ML's.
I have a Media Bridge (excellent quality) and Monster 800...neither will fit without mod. The Media bridge may be tough to mod since the plug bodies are metal. The Monster is a candidate for grinding / filing / sanding mod.
Thanks for the quick and informative response! I'll keep looking for alternative solutions/cables. It looks like the barrel is the main culprit.