Written by Cheryl Tan
Meze Audio’s Rai Penta blew me away, but it was a bit too pricey at S$1,699. When I heard Meze Audio had come up with a more affordable single driver IEM, I knew I had to try it. The Rai Solo is the little brother to the Rai Penta, and retains the same curves in the shell for a comfortable fit in the ear.
I do feel that the curves aren’t as pronounced as the Penta however, with a more gentle and subtle look to the faceplate. The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up the earphones is the weight. It’s hefty, thanks to the use of metal-injection stainless steel for the shells.
But that also means it feels incredibly sturdy while still being smooth to the touch. The Rai Penta weighed in at around 6g per side, while the Rai Solo weighs 10g per side, so it’s definitely a noticeable difference.
It also comes with a 4-core silver-plated copper cable that terminates in a 3.5mm jack and uses MMCX connectors. I’ve started to find that MMCX connectors have grown on me, simply because of the convenience that the ability to swivel the shells around affords when I’m inserting the IEMs into my ears.
Once you find the right silicon tips, the passive noise isolation is impeccable thanks to the well-fitting shells. I did find that the left side had noticeable driver flex whenever I was pressing it into my ear, but I had no such issue with the right side.
Soundwise, you’re looking at a slightly V-shaped sound signature with mids that are just a tad bit recessed. Bass is present and has a good thump and thickness to it. Sub-bass extension could be a bit better as well, although it should be enough for most listeners as long as they aren’t looking for a very strong bass presence.
As mentioned, mids are a bit recessed and you’ll hear that most clearly with vocals. While voices are still clear, it’s not quite as detailed as I would like, taking more of a backseat to the bass and treble.
Treble is probably the best part of these IEMs, with enough sparkle and energy in the upper registers. Although it’s slightly more forward, I don’t believe the Rai Solo will be considered too bright.
Soundstage does feel a bit compressed, however, but considering the single driver and price point, what you get is definitely acceptable. Most genres will sound perfectly fine here, but if your listening genres are more symphonic or instrumental then you might find that a bit of nuance and detail are lost.
So do these IEMs live up to Meze Audio’s brand reputation? For sure. The performance that you get out of these is exceptional when you take into consideration the price point. I do have to point out that in the package, there are double-flanged tips included and I tried them on but found that it affected the sound of the earphones too much, particularly the bass. So if you’re getting these earphones, do try on different tips to ensure you’re getting the sound you want.