Catcher in the RAI or RAIn Man? Whichever way you pronounce it, the Rai Penta is Meze Audio’s flagship IEM with a price to match: €1099. For those playing in this rarer air, to which Chi-Fi models have yet to ascend, the Rai Penta sits next to the Campfire Audio Andromeda on price but on hybrid driver configuration – 2 x dual BA + dynamic – it pulls up alongside Campfire’s more costly Solaris.
The Meze’s earshell is smaller than the Solaris and closer in size to the Andromeda. However, with its gently sculpted pebble-like look and feel, shorn of clean lines and sharper edges, the Rai Penta is the most comfortable of three. This should be every would-be buyer’s starting point with the Rai Penta.
From there, the Rai Penta readily competes with either Campfire on sound quality but with wholly different strengths and weaknesses. The Meze offers the transparency and the speed of the Andromeda but, much like Campfire’s less-costly Polaris II, it will likely divide listeners along musical lines. Those favouring more acoustic fare or cuts that benefit from extensive midrange insight or more overt tonal presence – early-career Momus, Bob Dylan and Nick Drake – will find themselves truly enraptured. Think ‘BBC’ loudspeaker designs: Harbeth over Wilson; Spendor over Magico.
Similarly, on low-frequency reach, the Meze do just fine, but in attempting to fully communicate that same low-end’s push, shove, wallop and heft, the Solaris’ larger and less comfortable earpieces have the edge. At least, that’s the way I hear it with the Meze-supplied (and largest) double-flanged silicone ear-tips that don’t quite offer an air-tight in-ear seal.
More – way more – in this video review:
Camera: Olaf von Voss | Editor: John Darko | Motion graphics: João Comazzi
Further information: Meze Audio