Meze Rai Penta
Aesthetics and Build Quality:
IEM build quality is really on the rise, and the Rai Penta show off how good well CNC machined shells can look. The Campfire Audio line-up have been using this technology for a while and they have their own twist on styling, whereas Meze have gone for a more rounded look with an understated colour scheme.
The detail on the shells is incredible and you can see a lot of work has gone in to getting the finish as flawless as possible. The small vent for the dynamic driver is a work of art and these feel and look very premium.
Build quality is very good as you would expect, the shells being made out of aluminium are solid and sturdy, the MMCX connectors are tight and rhodium plated for durability. The cable is silver plated copper, with a high strand count helping with ergonomics. You can see the solder joints in the clear MMCX connector strain relief which is a nice touch. The 3.5mm jack is also rhodium plated, and there is good strain relief all round.
Comfort and Isolation:
The Rai Penta has a very ergonomic housing with rounded edges and a soft and flexible cable, this all leads to a very comfortable fit. Once you find the right size tips, you can leave these in and forget about them, they should fit most people’s ears well.
The Rai Penta are vented due to the use of a dynamic driver, this means there is no driver flex but the isolation is affected a little. They don’t leak, but isolation is not quite as good as fully sealed BA based designs.
Bass: The lows on the Rai Penta has very impressive reach and linearity down low, they hit with authority yet extend without rolling off early. You can easily hear the sub-bass however it is not boosted and only comes out when it’s in the recording. They are very transparent and revealing and will bring out the bass when called for, they do however remain incredibly well controlled at all times and never sound congested or slow. The lows have the ability to be full when needed without affecting the midrange at all, and as they are so transparent the amount of body will change depending on the source.
Midrange: The midrange is remarkably well controlled and the lows never bleed in to the lower midrange. This leaves male vocals to cut through with excellent clarity and layering without added body congesting the sound. The tonality is spot on though and the Rai Penta are never lacking in natural timbre. Both male and female vocals excel with perfect presence, falling perfectly in line with the rest of the frequency response. It doesn’t matter how busy the mix gets, the midrange cuts through and is never left behind.
Treble: The highs extend effortlessly into the black background of the Rai Penta, yet they have great impact and energy without distortion or fatigue inducing peaks. The transition from the midrange to the treble is smooth with no emphasis so they are devoid of sibilance unless it is in the recording. The highs do nothing wrong, perfectly aligned with the bass and mids, they add great air and openness to the sound. Getting rid of sound tubes, and using CNC machining for the sound bores goes a long way in helping the high frequencies breathe and sound as open as these do. They don’t quite reach Andromeda levels of presence and air, but they are not lacking by any stretch.
The soundstaging is very good, with great depth and impressive width as you would expect for the price. Separation is a real strong point due to how controlled the Rai Penta sound, they never lag or sound congested no matter how busy the track gets.
There are so many great models out at the moment that it is hard to pick which are best and thus we always recommend listening before purchasing. What the Rai Penta delivers are impressive dynamics and a level playing field for all the frequencies. Their transparency allows them to play well with all genres and bring out the best in all of them, it is not a jack of all trades, master of none experience either. Even at low volumes you get the full range and impressive dynamics, yet play them a little louder and they hold the same signature with nothing stepping out of line. The Rai Penta is a high-end IEM in all aspects, and delivers a balanced yet musical and natural listening experience.