The Meze Rai Penta already lives near the top on my list of favorite IEM’s. The Solo is its single-driver sibling with a humbler pricetag. Meze has put clear consideration into the craft of all of their products in the past. Does the Solo live up to its surname? Let’s get into it.
Opening the box, I noticed something kind of unusual. The amount of double flange tips outnumbers the standard single flange eartips. That, and there were no foam tips included. I don’t normally like to use double flange tips, but I felt like I was being dared to. I was able to secure a very comfortable fit with the double flange tips, but I didn't like how it affected the sound (I'll get into that further down).
The case included with the Rai Solo is quality. I think it's the same one that comes with the Penta. I like little considerations like this because it feels that the manufacturer is taking this product seriously. Additionally, the earpieces are built with a nice-and-hefty stainless steel shell. Physically, they feel even more premium than their actual cost. Meze products are always classy.
What does the Meze Rai Solo sound like?
My first thought was “where’s the bass?”. I was thrown off because they looked so much like the Penta, which I'd lovingly call a bass beast. This was the exact moment where I realized that the double flanged tips might be affecting the sound I was receiving from the Solo. I swapped to a standard silicon tip, and the isolation opened up the low end dramatically.
For a single-driver design, the Solo’s extension stretches pretty to an average depth. The bass response isn’t muddy or overstated, but manages to reveal enough of the lowest frequencies where I’m satisfied. I prefer the Penta’s girth here, but considering the price of the Solo, I’m far from disappointed.
Not gonna lie, I got the most out of the low frequencies from adding foam eartips to them. Dekoni Mercury fit perfectly and the seal really brings out the bass. The included single-flange silicon was definitely the best in-box option, but the Dekonis really give the Solo an added thump
The mids of the Meze Rai Solo are complicated. Let’s start with the bad news first. The low mids to the mid-mids are a little lax in delivery. I would’ve liked a little bit more lower range in the vocal region. This area isn’t missing, but depending on the music you are listening to, the vocals can sometimes fall a little back in priority. In tracks I tested with strong distorted guitar, vocals took more of a back seat.
Now the good part: the upper mids come in loud-and clear. Vocals with more high-frequency presence are eloquently presented, and tracks with full-bodied vocals sound perfect. Rap sounds excellent with them since hip hop vocal mixes are typically super front-and-center. The emphasis on higher mids also adds a bit of bite to rhythmic vocals.
The Meze Rai Solo leans into its upper frequencies. They aren’t necessarily tinny or thin, but they definitely aren’t high-shy. I only found this unpleasant about them when I tried them with their double flange tips. With single flange and the Dekoni Mercury tips that I substituted in, the treble built a great sense of separation in my test tracks. Percussion in particular is articulated very distinctly, and as a drummer, I have no complaints.
I’m going to skip reviewing their soundstage. There isn’t a great sense of stage with them. Sound stage isn't a requirement for me, and I kind of like a narrower headphoney sound sometimes. There is a precise imaging to them that gives instruments little room to hide. Combined with their revealing high frequencies, I’d call their sound “analytical”.
-Ergonomic and Comfortable
-Great Analytical Signature
-Quality Build Quality
-Require perfect seal for bass
-No Included Foam Tips
A Last Look at the Meze Rai Solo
The Meze Rai Solo checks some boxes harder than others. I can’t say they are for the bass fiends. Their signature is revealing and charismatic in their upper range, while not leaving their lows too far behind. My feeling is that Meze wanted to create an IEM for those who already own or want an alternative to the Rai Penta. If you’re someone like me that enjoys looking at the brighter side of sound, these are your champions for $249 USD.