I’ve been in love with Meze ever since I listened to the Empyrean. Even after testing countless headphones, I’d never heard anything like it. Luckily, the same is true for the Rai Penta. In an increasingly saturated IEM market, it’s rare to come across something this unique. And if you’re a seasoned audiophile, this model should definitely be on your bucket list. Why? Let’s take a closer look in this Meze Audio Rai Penta Review.
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Review of Meze Audio Rai Penta IEM
IN the BOX
I didn’t run into any problems here. Of course, everyone’s ears are different, but the Rai Penta’s ergonomics were perfect for my ears and felt comfortable even after long listening sessions. Certainly, the smooth contours of these buds beat the fit the mostly larger IEMs they compete with. And though the sound isolation on the Rai Penta may not be as effective as a Shure or Westone model, I was still able to drown out the sound of all the chatty cathies around me.
The Rai Penta sports a hybrid driver design: 1 dynamic driver and 4 balanced armatures. These buds have a wide frequency range of 4Hz - 45kHz. We’ll see how this translates to sound below.
With an impedance of 20 Ohms and a sensitivity of 110 dB, I found the Rai Penta very easy to drive, and even your iPhone will give you ample juice. But the purpose of this review, I used my humble little FiiO Q1 DAC/amp.
Though the silver-plated copper cable (4 wires, each with 20 litz strands) didn’t strike me as being particularly thick, the MMCX connectors and 3.5mm termination are solid and feel sturdy. I also appreciated how easily I was able to detach the connectors. Afterall, not all of us have man hands.
The shells themselves are made from machined aluminum. And Meze employs a “pressure equalization system,” which controls airflow, helping to stop a build up of pressure on your eardrum. It also relieves pressure from the driver, which can have an effect on the sound. And let’s face it, no one wants a stressed out driver.
Jesus, Mary and John Lennon. Meze isn’t frequen’ around here. The low end has significant presence and thickness. To call these IEMs punchy would be an understatement. Now, you’d think that this kind of sound profile would be unsuitable for acoustic instruments. But listening to cellos in this range, the weightiness of the Rai Penta really brings out the grandeur of the instrument. That being said, it had more smoothness than substance and nuance. And listening to some double bass plucks, it sometimes produced a less than natural timbre. So, these buds may be limited in terms of versatility in this range. But man, they’re a damn a good time for anyone who’s into modern genres.
Wow. How clean and detailed this IEM gets when it reaches the higher frequencies. I didn’t think the Rai Penta would be suitable for folk music, for example. But listening to everything from Simon & Garfunkel to George Harrison is still a dream. And I’ll take the compromise of a slightly mushy guitar strum in the lower frequencies. Moving onto classical music, Meze hits a beautiful balance between smoothness and detail. In fact, I found this same characteristic when I listened to Meze's over-ear Empyrean. And again, that weightiness gives strings an incredibly majestic feel.
You can expect slightly forward leaning vocals, which brings a dynamic feel to pop tracks. But even though the low mids are a little hidden, you’ll still get a massive and full bodied sound when listening to big rock and pop-rock tracks. So, it’s the best of both worlds.
Listening to strings, these buds may not be as transparent as other IEMs at this price point. But it’s sufficiently textured given how honey-smooth and fluid the presentation is. This is also a very easy listening IEM. While it does have some snap and sparkle, those with sensitivity to high frequencies will find that it’s a forgiving enough sound profile.
Who needs Madison Square Garden? And if you’re a sucker for precise imaging, you’ll certainly get a kick out of the Rai Penta. Even the smallest gradations in width, depth and height are abundantly apparent. And if you appreciate a truly holographic listening experience, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more colorful soundscape for the price.
I can’t wipe the smile off my face. Meze has some serious chutzpah. Bold and unapologetic, The Rai Penta reminds us to enjoy the music and not be swayed by the latest IEM trends out there. It’s a truly unique sound signature that is a must have addition to any audiophile’s IEM arsenal.
To purchase the Rai Penta, click on the link below: