Excellent bass control, Highly natural tone and timbre, Wide soundstage, Gorgeous build and ergonomics
Minimal noise isolation, Treble may be overly relaxed for some
The Rai Penta doesn’t awe the listener like most high-end IEMs, but gently eases them into a natural yet resolving sound that continues to reveal new details after hours and hours
Forged in Romania, Meze’s notoriety was secured from the moment they released their first headphone, the 99 Classics. From there, they developed a handful of revisions before turning their attention to IEMs and more ambitious future projects. It’s been a few years and such ambitions have borne fruit in the form of the flagship Empyrean headphone and Rai Penta earphone. The Penta is the product of 3 years of development; a 5-driver hybrid featuring a pressure equalization system and precision milled sound tubes that permit seamless integration of its 5 drivers into one coherent sound while omitting the need for detail-sapping tube and dampeners. As can be expected from Meze, the earphone has a striking CNC aluminium housing and a focus on tone, detail and ergonomics. The Rai Penta, much like the Empyrean, represents a huge step forward for Meze in design and status. You can read more about the Rai Penta here.
I would like to thank Meze Audio very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Rai Penta for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
The Rai Penta comes within premium packaging that denotes its status as a flagship product. Within the large textured box buyers will find the earphones nestled within a foam inlet alongside the gorgeous leather zippered hard case, one of the nicest I’ve come across. The box also contains a plethora of ear tips including 4 pairs of silicone tips, 3 pairs of foam tips and a pair of dual flange tips to achieve an optimal fit.
Comfort, precision and triumph in aesthetic design are all goals that Meze set out to achieve with the Rai Penta. And in person, this is exactly what they’ve achieved. The housings are milled from a solid block of aluminium, from acoustic chambers to sound tubes, with an in-hand feel to match. A small medial seam is the only flaw visible on the earphone’s speckled deep blue shells. Meanwhile, precisely machined vents adorn the internal face alongside a tri-bore nozzle with a small lip to aid the retention of ear tips.
Though reasonably large, the housings are superbly shaped, delivering superlative comfort. They disappear over long listening sessions and slot confidently into the ear, producing a medium depth and very low-profile fit. The over-ear cable also reinforces their strong ergonomics, enhancing fit stability. As the earphones are quite open with overt venting on the internal face, noise isolation is below average even with foam ear tips. As such, they are not the best option for frequent travellers and are best appreciated in a quiet environment.
The cable is also a highlight of this earphone. I was enamoured with Meze’s former SPC upgrade headphone cables and that expertise has been miniaturized and translated here. The Rai Penta comes with a 4-wire SPC Litz cable with a stunning Rhodium-plated 3.5mm straight plug, metal interconnects and ample strain relief. The pre-moulded ear guides are soft and well-formed, contributing towards their comfortable fit.
Next Page: Sound, Comparisons & Verdict